Originally Posted by raygun
Like I said, perhaps your right and BASC and the H.O. have got it wrong.
My understanding is that if they hadn't put some wording in to Sect 5 (1) then air pistols would have been banned alongside all other pistols. As is they are Sect 5 if they venture over 6FPE (or are capable of doing so).
The problem here is the lack of definition of a pistol. I'm looking at the HO guidance now
Chapter 2.43 mentions any short weapon over 6ft.lb, this, I suggest, is an assumption that any sub 30cm barrel should be considered a pistol hence the 6 ft/lb limit, but there is no law on this to my knowledge (which isn't vast!)
If you now cross reference this with the same rules, Chapter 3.6, you'll see a specific reference to 'specially dangerous' air weapons only, in respect of short barrel/length.
So combining the two sections it would an offence to possess the short weapon, only if it exceeded 6ft/lb as a pistol and crucially 12ft/lb as a rifle or gun.
Very grey but that's HO guidance for you, it's often used for political purposes to effectively clampdown on a perceived issue without resorting to rewriting statutes, it relies on their own 'expert' interpretation of law
rather than case stated, it can and does often differ from, for example, CPS prosecution guidelines.