Something nefarious happened last week at the State House in regards to reforming the state’s gun control laws, and it wasn’t that an NRA lobbyist came to push his conservative agenda. It’s that Teny Oded Gross was the only member of the public to ask him to take it elsewhere.
‘It’s a deceitful organization,” Oded Gross told me later. “The NRA knows very well that panic and fear is good for business. If you have more deaths, you have more people buying guns.”
Oded Gross is not your typical advocate for greater gun control legislation.
For one, he’s a former Israeli Army sergeant. “I come to liberalism from seeing carnage,” he told me. And for another, he is the executive director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, an organization that works with inner city gang members. “I saw and see a lot of violence,” he added.
“We respond to the hospital when someone gets shot,” Oded Gross said. “I work with the people who are the shooters.”
The Institute, he said, responded to more than 150 instances of gun violence last year, and they were involved with all 17 homicides in Rhode Island.
He doesn’t buy the NRA talking point that gun control measures will only affect the legal gun owners. He says many guns get to the streets through otherwise legal channels.
“People who are denying gun availability leads to violence are either disillusion or straight liars,” he said. “The NRA has made it so easy to get them. We need to have a better ability to track down and monitor guns. But for some people this is contentious.
“We are reaching out to the people who invited the NRA. If you don’t want more gun control, come and work with us. Roll up your sleeves and help us reduce the violence.”