Originally Posted by AlsoFishes
"The Home Office regard self-loading or pump action rifled airguns (including paintball guns) as outside the scope of the Firearms Act, unless they are sufficiently powerful to fall within the category of a "specially dangerous" air weapon (Archbold 24.8a)."
Yes that is a quote from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) website.
The CPS are the department with the final say about whether they're going to take you to court or not.
The reason they have made that statement is that according to the actual wording of the firearms act, air weapons appear to be included in Section 5(1)(ab) - which is the bit about semi-auto guns.
That's what happened - they forgot to exclude them when they wrote the law. It's quite understandable really because semi-auto airguns were quite rare back in 1997 and the people that make laws aren't always up to speed with the latest developments.
And that is why we have this slight problem with the letter of the law and the application of the law.
The letter of the law Firearms Act 1968, Section 5(1)(ab) says that semi-automatic airguns are a prohibited item.
The application of the law says they're fine to own and use.
That's why... it's true to say that Semi-Automatic air weapons are illegal. (Illegal means against the law)
It's also true to say that you're fine to own and use a semi-auto airgun.
And that's the part that I think you're having trouble getting your head around. Both of those statements are true..
The GTA on the other hand have chosen to highlight the first part but not mention the second (and most important part).
They are illegal (the law prohibits them)
The Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service have advised that there was a mistake when the law was written and because of that they are not going to prosecute anyone for owning or using one.
Fine to own and use does not mean LEGAL.
ILLEGAL does not mean it isn't fine to own and use.
When having these discussions on forums, avoid using the word LEGAL and ILLEGAL - instead ask - "can I own one without prosecution?"