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I just moved to Washington from California and I had this same problem when I tried to get my hands on a Walther P-5. now there is nothing bad or scary about the P-5 that should make it illegal... but since the P-5 is not a terribly popular gun here in the US, the time and money involved in getting it on the CA approved import list was not something walther probably wanted to do.

sooooooo here is the extra wierd part of this particular piece of legislation: technically, it is NOT illiegal to own one of these guns (HP .40, .45, P-5) in CA. it is only illegal to IMPORT them to CA. So if one of these guns is already in the state, its ok. This means private party transfers are ok, as long as the gun is not being imported into the state.

The question then becomes: how do they get into the state in the first place without importing them? Putting aside the guns that were already in the state before these laws went into effect, there are 2 main ways these guns can get into CA legally.

1. Someone who owned these "banned import" guns in another state and then moves to CA.

2. Law enforcement personnel can import just about any kind of gun they want to CA (full auto uzi's for example).

Straw purchases (where someone buys a gun FOR you) are very illegal.

It's honestly quite silly. But I hope this makes it a little clearer. The list of all the guns that are avaliable for import are on that CA DOJ website. http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/
 
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