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Kennedy, Solomon in Shouting Match Over Weapons Ban

March 22, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Republican congressman and the Democratic nephew of John and Robert Kennedy clashed heatedly on Friday as the House debated legislation to overturn a ban on assault-style weapons.

``This is nothing but a sham,″ said Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who were assassinated in the 1960s.

``My God, all I have to say to you is, `Play with the devil, die with the devil,‴ Kennedy said angrily. ``There are families out there. You’ll never know ... what it’s like because you don’t have someone in your family killed. It’s not the person that’s killed. It’s the whole family that’s affected.″

Rep Gerald Solomon of New York replied, calmly at first, then with growing intensity:

``I have great respect for he and his family, but I’m going to tell you something. When he stands up and questions the integrity of those of us that have this bill on the floor, the gentleman ought to be a little more careful.

``And let me tell you why. ... My wife lives alone five days a week in a rural area in upstate New York. She has a right to defend herself when I’m not there, son. And don’t you ever forget it, Don’t you ever forget it.″

After considerable crosstalk involving several lawmakers, Solomon suggested, ``Let’s step outside together.″ But the argument ended with nothing more than words exchanged.

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