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"[…] Muggles have been told that Black is carrying a gun (a kind of metal wand that Muggles use to kill each other) […]"
— A wizarding description of a gun from the Daily Prophet[src]

A gun, also known as a firearm, is a type of metallic weapon commonly crafted and used by non-magic people, that operate by firing projectiles using explosive force. Guns are used by a variety of organisations including military and police agencies, and by individuals to hunt and for self-defence. They can come in a variety of configurations, including but not limited to: pistols, rifles, shotguns and cannons.[4]

Like most Muggle technology, wizards are generally oblivious to guns. Wizarding newspaper the Daily Prophet equated guns to a "kind of metal wand".[5] Kingsley Shacklebolt once misread the term "firearm" as "fireleg".[6]

History

In the 18th century, soon after Dorcus Twelvetrees revealed the secret adresses of Ilvermorny and the MACUSA Headquarters to a scourer descendant; Bartholomew Barebone and a band of gun-wielding friends plotted to kill all wizards and witches living in the area. Bartholomew planted himself outside of a building and opened fire when a group of people he assumed to be MACUSA employees exited. However, the people were in fact No-Majs unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. None of them were killed. Bartholomew was arrested by No-Maj authorities and imprisoned for his crime.[7]

In 1876, Rancorous Carpe attempted to trap Peeves and have him removed from Hogwarts Castle via an elaborate trap, of which include a blunderbuss and a miniature cannon.[8]

NYPD police officers armed with pump-action shotguns

In 1926, No-Maj officers of the New York Police Department, were armed with pump-action shotguns, revolvers, and sub-machine guns.[3]

At some point in or prior to 1991, Dudley Dursley swapped a pet parrot for a real, live air rifle at his school. However by summer 1991, the rifle was discarded in his second bedroom, as Dudley had bent the end of it by sitting on it.[1]

In 1991, Vernon Dursley bought a rifle to protect his family during their stay at the Hut-on-the-Rock, but when the half-giant Rubeus Hagrid visited them on the island unexpectedly, he easily destroyed the rifle by bending it into a knot.[2]

When Sirius Black pulled out his wand in an attempt to kill Peter Pettigrew for his treason, the Muggle witnesses thought he brought out a gun. Later, after his escape from Azkaban, Muggle news reports stated that he was carrying a gun.[5] Arthur Weasley also had a report on firearms, assigned to him by the Auror Office during the hunt for Black, that was a month overdue; Kingsley Shacklebolt apparently misread the word as "fireleg".[6]

Behind the scenes

  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Vernon comes downstairs with a double-barreled shotgun, rather than a rifle. Hagrid bends the barrels of the shotgun upwards, causing Vernon to discharge it into the ceiling.
  • Despite modern wizard-kind not being familiar with firearms, back in the past they did, with Rancorous even making use of a blunderbuss.[8]
  • The British Firearms Act strongly regulates the ownership and use of firearms. Citizens with appropriate certification may own a rifle, provided that it meet specifications; notably that it only loads a single round at a time. Shotguns with less than a three round capacity (eg: double barrel) are also generally legal to own, with a certificate, and are subject to less rigorous regulation.However, gun ownership explicitly for personal protection has been banned since 1938, and use of a firearm in a self defence situation is generally illegal.[9] This makes Vernon's possession of a rifle more disturbing from a British perspective, as he almost certainly did not obtain it legally.

Appearances

Notes and references

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