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Seattle enlists legal help to fight NRA lawsuit over gun tax

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SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle says it has enlisted some high-powered legal help to combat a lawsuit brought by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups over the city’s adoption of a so-called “gun violence tax.”

City Attorney Pete Holmes says the Washington, D.C.-based law firm of Steptoe and Johnson is working with the city for free. The firm has 500 lawyers around the world and specializes in complex litigation.

The tax was approved by the City Council last month and takes effect in January. It adds $25 to the price of each firearm sold in the city, plus 2 or 5 cents per round of ammunition. The revenue would be used for gun safety research and violence prevention.

The NRA says the tax is illegal because Washington state prohibits local governments from adopting laws related to firearms unless those local ordinances are specifically authorized. In documents filed Wednesday the city said the measure is within its taxing authority.