Originally Posted by Crunchmeister
Technically, all of us who may have purchased guns since Dec 21 1998 have done so illegally and are technically in unlawful posession of prohibited items. Any replicas owned before that date are grandfathered and legal to use and own. They don't prosecute airsoft owners because it's not worth it. No real payoff or benefit for the cost, effort, and manpower required to get convictions. Technically, they COULD bust most of us, but don't bother. They rather go after the importers instead.
So while airsoft itself isn't illegal, it's not legal either. Hence the grey area.
Grandfathering is a specific legislative activity. Replica firearms are not grandfathered. What happened was that they said replica firearms are ok to possess (and would've also been in association, ok to acquire) but they popped in a couple regulations to the contrary. Acquiring replica firearm breaks the law, as a result.
The only so called grey area is that some people argue that airsoft guns aren't, as a whole, replica firearm. I call that wishful thinking.