Arming the people is something that leaders find detestable and frightening, necessary perhaps, but certainly unwelcome.
These people are the common populace with whatever dangerous weapons they can obtain by fair means or foul. If a leader has reached the point of asking his people to act as this kind of militia, things are indeed desperate! If the governed have reached this point on their own, then matters are truly desperate for their leaders!
Firelock Armed Populace are free mobs provided to the defender of a region capital while attempting to repel invaders. Their number is dependent on the public order, the wealth of the region, and the regions themselves (for example, France is capable of producing a full stack of 20 armed populace, while Don Voshko would be lucky to get four). The amount of armed populace available also depends on the number of regiments already in the region capital. If a region capital is capable of supplying five mobs of armed populace, but the army deployed there already has 19 regiments, then only one mob will be provided; the cap of twenty regiments per army still applies.
Firelock armed populace have terrible morale, extremely poor accuracy, possess very limited ammo, and are even worse in a melee, but they are certainly better than nothing and completely expendable in the sense that they have no upkeep or training cost whatsoever. Used properly while defending a fortress, it is possible for firelock armed populace to hold off superior forces for quite some time, as well as inflicting considerable losses.
Firelock armed populace do not spawn in defense of a capital should it be attacked by a rebellion or revolution.