Originally Posted by Brian.Samson
I've had a read through of that page, there's nothing in there that suggests that it was the intention of Section 5(1)(ab) to exclude air weapons.
Unless I've missed it?
Ah hang on...
That's a pretty useful quote.. it's a bit vague unfortunately, but it does refer to self-loading rifled airguns as being outside the scope of the Firearms Act. It's a shame it doesn't specifically say Section 5 of the act, but I think that's what it's implying.
That might stand up in court I reckon.. It would be a pretty good defense. The problem you'd have in court though is that Section 5(1)(ac) does specifically have an exclusion for Air Weapons.. which sort of contradicts the CPS quote - It's difficult to argue that the intention of the act wasn't to include air weapons when one of the paragraphs specifically mentions them.
Anyone have anything else?
Not got anything concrete to add, but my take is this. There is no "Section" in the act for low-powered air weapons (sic) which implies to me that the intention is for them not to be covered by the Act. There is Section 1 for high powered ones and Section 5 for high powered short ones (pistols over 6). Specific exemptions for low-powered air weapons and paintball guns litter the Act but tend to muddy the waters as they can imply no exemptions where they are not mentioned.
So there are two broad interpretations supported by the two camps
1) the wording of section 5 does not include an exemption for "low powered air weapons" therefore there isn't one and hence semi auto and pump action are prohibited. GTA/AMTA favour this interpretation.
2) under a kind of umbrella exemption based on the intention when the law was drafted, low powered air weapons do not fall under the scope of the Act therefore semi auto and pump LPAW are not prohibited. BASC, ACPO, CPS and the HO favour this interpretation.
From where I sit, the relevant government department, the Crown Prosecution Service, the body for law enforcement leaders and the leading shooting lobby group collectively carry more weight of credibility than a couple of trade bodies.
What troubles me apart from the wider issue, is if interpretation (1) is correct then there is no exemption for pistols (Crosman 600, Aeron B96, Steyr LP5/50, Walther CP5, DruLov Du-10, Zastava GP-45 to name but a few). Why they have been openly sold and tolerated for decades would seem to be a huge anomaly... IF that interpretation is correct...