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Washington judge bats down NRA and upholds Seattle’s ‘gun violence tax’ on sellers of firearms and ammo

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A judge upheld Seattle’s new tax on firearms and ammunition sales on Tuesday, rejecting a challenge from the National Rifle Association claiming the measure violated a state law barring municipalities from enacting firearm legislation.

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a “gun violence tax” on sellers of firearms and ammunition in August, directing proceeds toward violence prevention programs and research beginning in January 2016.

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A companion measure requires gun owners to report cases of lost and stolen firearms to police.

On Tuesday, King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson denied a request by gun rights groups for an injunction, saying the tax did not violate state law and was a “lawful exercise of Seattle’s taxing authority.”

The National Rifle Associations (NRA) and other pro-gun groups vowed to appeal against the ruling, maintaining that the tax does not comply with a Washington state law that bars municipalities from creating their own gun regulations.

They also said the tax would hurt small gun dealers, with customers driving to other retailers outside the city limits to avoid the tax.

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“We are going to fight this vigorously in defense of a state preemption law that has served Washington citizens well for more than three decades,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the pro-gun rights group Second Amendment Foundation.

The only other municipality in the country with an individual tax on gun sales is Chicago, according to the NRA.

Under the new Seattle law, gun sellers will be taxed $25 for every gun sold plus 2 or 5 cent taxes on each round of ammunition.

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Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess said the tax was a “legitimate and appropriate way to raise revenue for gun safety research and prevention programs” in the city.

“Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts to put gun industry profits ahead of public safety,” Burgess said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the Republican-run House of Representatives blocked a Democratic effort to consider bipartisan gun control legislation in the wake of repeated, highly publicized mass shootings in the United States.

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There was an average of 131 deaths attributed to firearms each year in King County, which includes Seattle, between 2006 and 2010, KIRO-TV reported.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Editing by Paul Tait)


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Pennsylvania Republican senator arrested and charged with possession of child pornography

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According to a release from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Republican state Sen. Michael Folmer has been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

The release said that the investigation began as the result of a CyberTip about Tumblr discovering that a user had uploaded child pornography onto their site. It ultimately led to the home of Folmer in Lebanon, PA. A search warrant yielded images on Folmer's phone.

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Netanyahu refuses to concede after he falls short — blames media instead

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Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, refused to concede after being down in the election night polls. Like the last election, Netanyahu is claiming his own personal victory and blaming the media for all of his woes.

Senior Diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid, at Channel 13 News in Tel-Aviv, was live-tweeting the election results late Tuesday night.

https://twitter.com/barakravid/status/1174116674225758209?s=21

"Netanyahu says Israel needs a Zionist government that is committed for Israel as a Jewish state. No government can be based on support from Arab parties," Ravid said.

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Mitch McConnell crony running for Kentucky AG is ineligible for office: lawsuit

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On Tuesday, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that a new lawsuit seeks to remove Daniel Cameron from the ballot as the Kentucky GOP's nominee for state attorney general.

According to the lawsuit, filed by retired union worker and "concerned citizen" Joseph Leon Jackson Sr. in Jefferson Circuit Court, Cameron does not meet the office requirement of having practiced law for eight years — because although he was admitted by the Kentucky Bar Association in 2011, he spent two of the following years clerking for U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove.

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