BAR HARBOR — A resolution asking elected official at all levels to enact “common sense gun measures and other laws” to protect the “health, safety and security of students, teachers, staff and others” was adopted unanimously by the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) board Monday night.
The resolution, introduced by Caroline Pryor, was first discussed at last month’s board meeting.
It urges passage of gun control measures including “universal background checks; increased regulation of gun ownership for those with criminal records, domestic violence, drug and alcohol convictions, and mental illness; increased research on the effects of gun violence on our society; and increased regulation of the civilian use of lethal, semi-automatic weapons and related devices that are weapons of choice in mass shootings.”
Pryor said of her resolution, “It’s an opportunity to show our kids and the staff who work in our buildings that we really care, we really take them seriously, and we’re willing to take a stand on really hard issues.”
As part of the resolution, the school board affirmed the following: “We believe in and support the U.S. Constitution and all of its amendments, including the Second Amendment’s rights for sportswomen and men, hunters and others to own and use appropriate firearms.”
Board member Scott Grierson, a longtime gun owner who spoke in favor of the resolution at the school board’s March meeting, reiterated his support Monday. He said that some gun enthusiasts have been warning for decades that if gun rights are curtailed in any way, it will lead to people having their guns taken away.
“But after 30 or 40 years of hearing that, we now have all these high-end assault rifles and very high-powered pistols,” he said. “I think that [instead of] the slippery slope that a gun owner of 40 years ago was worried about, we’ve gone down the other side in a different direction on a slippery slope.”
Observing that he might be more comfortable with guns than many other members of the school board, Grierson said, “As someone probably from the other side of the spectrum, I applaud this resolution. Amen, I’m all for it.
“I don’t think this is about being anti gun or pro gun. This is trying to find some reasonableness, and I think this is a reasonable approach.”
Board member John Bench agreed that the resolution is reasonable.
“And that’s the only way we’re going to get anywhere, because the country is so divided on this that if you try to go far left or far right, you’re just going to split the divide even farther.”
Nearly 50 parents, teachers and other community members attended Monday’s MDIRSS board meeting — far more than usual — and it appeared that most of them were there for the discussion and vote on the gun control resolution. Many applauded when it passed.