Suozzi and Pilip clash over gun safety


In the closely watched battle for former Rep. George Santos’ open House seat, Tom Suozzi and Mazi Pilip dove into a fierce exchange over gun safety regulations last Thursday.
During a press conference, Suozzi focused on gun safety while criticizing his opponent, saying she was “unvetted and unprepared, and will make things worse.” Suozzi emphasized his support for measures such as banning semi-automatic assault weapons and implementing universal background checks.
Mothers like Glen Head resident Ann Koch, a retired teacher at the North Shore School District’s high school, who was present during a 2018 school lockdown, said she’s not surprised by the Republican party’s choice in selecting their candidate.
“I don’t understand their choice because she is unvetted and she isn’t experienced,” Koch said. “We have the experienced guy, we have the guy who knows how to get around Congress in the house, so they live with their choice.”
With the backing of Moms Demand Action, Suozzi jabbed at his opponent, accusing her of shrouding her stances in ambiguity and failing to provide transparent answers to pressing questions. He asserted that Pilip’s failure to clearly articulate her positions on issues like an assault weapon ban and universal background checks raised concerns about her preparedness for the congressional role. Suozzi cast Pilip’s stated support for a machine gun ban as an attempt to “hoodwink” voters into thinking she supports a revival of the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

“When she was asked by Newsday if she supported an assault weapons ban, she refused to answer, and instead said law abiding citizens should have a route to access guns, which I think everybody agrees to, but not automatic assault weapons,” Suozzi said at the conference. “The trick is that automatic weapons machine guns have been banned in the United States of America since 1986. The issue really is that the ban on semi-automatic weapons has expired. We’re talking about weapons of war, such as AR-15s.”
In a statement responding to the news conference, Pilip’s campaign emphasized that she’s detailed her position about keeping communities safe from gun violence.
“The agenda includes keeping illegal guns off our streets, strengthening background checks as well as mental health checks. In addition, Legislator Pilip supports reasonable waiting periods,” Brian Devine, a spokesperson for Pilip stated in an email. “Mazi is a firm believer in the right to bear arms. She believes law-abiding citizens should have a route to have access to guns, but not automatic assault weapons.”
The email goes on to say Suozzi’s “failure to secure our borders has exacerbated the flow of illegal firearms into our communities.”