The debate has indeed been running for quite a while. I first came across references to semi-auto's when researching into AT.(over 7 years ago)
The Home Office raised the problem in 1997 when they realised the drafted and passed legislation although excluding smooth bore sub 12FPE semi/full auto's did not exclude sub 12FPE rifled barreled guns.
To correct this the Home Office issued HOC 68 which is quite clear that the sub12FPE rifled barreled guns are to be treated as being excluded. The H.O., the CPS and ACPO were all in agreement.
Steyr opened up the debate when they put a vid up on Youtube of their semi-auto. This triggered the ongoing debate as unsurprisingly people wanted one.
The GTA seemingly never had a problem with their members selling semi-auto's. AMTA also had no problem as Daystate made at least one (without S 5). AMTA also said that if a semi was placed on the market the HO would get them banned, so they must have believed them legal.
The problem isn't the number of semi-auto's being brought in but more that airgunners were seeing the cost savings that could be made buying from Europe for other guns. This is what's upset the GTA as their gravy train has now hit the E.U. buffers.
The GTA issued their statement saying they had partaken in extended discussions with the H.O. This appears not to be true. The H.O. says the GTA put on an "Information session" about guns and legislation for the H.O. and the Law Commission although what generated that is unclear as you would think the authority on what is legal and what is not would be better addressed by the H.O.
Given that the Border Agency is still allowing semi's in to the country you have to think that their position is that the HOC68 stands. Until that is revoked by the H.O. it will stand. If the H.O. do revoke it then we are in for a fun time as they will not only have to say what the changes are but why.
There is one thing for certain and that is now airgunners know just what the GTA, AMTA and their spokesman's position is and it's not on the side of airgunners.