Publication Date
May 5, 2020
Nicholas James Johnson, David B. Kopel, George A. Mocsary, E. Gregory Wallace
arms, firearms, guns, rifle, pistol, shotgun, handgun, bullet, revolver, knife, knives, nongun arms, ammunition, semi-automatic, ar-15, assault weapon, stun gun, taser, sword, bow, spray, Martial Arts
Many aspects of gun policy are driven by the mechanics of firearms. Knowledge of how firearms and ammunition operate is thus essential to careful thinking about firearms law and the Second Amendment. Those who learn, shape, and review laws should make every effort to understand basic facts about the operation and use of the firearms involved. This, unfortunately, does not happen in many instances.

This chapter is designed to help the reader understand the basics of how firearms and ammunition function. Part A presents the basic parts of a firearm with summary diagrams. Part B describes the various components of firearm ammunition—the bullet, case, primer, and gunpowder. Part C discusses the operation and safe handling of modern firearms. Part D focuses on the three major types of modern firearms—handguns, rifles, and shotguns—explaining their specific features and uses. Part E examines specialty types of firearms and accessories, including those covered by the National Firearms Act (machine guns, bump stocks, silencers or suppressors) as well as muzzleloaders and armor-piercing ammunition. Part F covers non-firearm arms such as stun guns, edged weapons, air and paintball guns, bows, chemical sprays, and blunt weapons.
Recommended Citation
Johnson, Nicholas James and Kopel, David B. and Kopel, David B. and Mocsary, George A. and Wallace, E. Gregory, In-Depth Explanation of Firearms and Ammunition (July 16, 2020). Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy ch. 15 (2d ed. 2020)., Available at SSRN:

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