I really am at a loss trying to explain this..
Section 5(1)(ab) is worded such that Air Weapons are not excluded.
According to the Statute Law, semi-auto air guns are a prohibited section 5 weapon.
That is the Law.
Semi-auto airguns are illegal (that means they are prohibited by law)
When considering the legal status of semi - auto airguns you must not only consider the law, but also the intention and application of the law.
A law that is not applied is still a law.
The HO and CPS are responsible for the application of the law and they have said quite clearly in HOC 68/97 that even though the amendment to S5 of the act reads as though SA airguns are prohibited, that they believe that to be an oversight and as a result they do not intend to apply that law.
That hasn't changed in 18 years.
There is no question of legal / illegal
They are illegal but the law isn't applied.
A law that isn't applied is still a law, so when asked specifically if they are legal the answer is that they are not.
In short - you are fine to own, sell and use a semi-auto airgun and have been for the past 18 years.
But the incorrectly worded law that should have been amended at the earliest opportunity has not been reworded. Which means that technically they are still illegal until such time that the act is amended.