A bill introduced in the state legislature of Vermont seeks to “prohibit the possession of cell phones by persons under 21 years of age.”
The legislation was introduced by state Sen. John Rodgers, a Democrat, who believes that people under the age of 21 “are not developmentally mature enough” to possess and use cellphones in a safe manner. The bill cites distracted driving and internet bullying as primary examples. “The use of cell phones while driving is one of the leading killers of teenagers in the United States,” the text of the bill explains. “According to the United States Department of Transportation, cell phones are involved in 1.6 million automobile crashes each year, causing half a million injuries and 6,000 deaths. Each day, 11 teenagers die in automobile crashes in this country.”
Vermont already has anti-bullying and distracted driving laws on the books. The distracted driving law sets a penalty of between $100 and $200 for the first offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses, and penalty points on your license. Under this proposed anti-cellphone law, possession or use of a cellphone by anyone under 21 would result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
But, according to Rodgers, is this bill really about bullying and distracted driving. Rodgers actually introduced the bill to make a point about gun rights. According to the text of the bill, another justification for this ban is that “Cell phones have often been used by mass shooters of younger ages for research on previous shootings.” Rodgers, a supporter of the Second Amendment, says the Vermont state legislature “seems bent on taking away our Second Amendment rights.” The information presented in the bill paints a picture that a cellphone is actually more dangerous than a gun, says Rodgers.
“I have no delusions that it’s going to pass. I wouldn’t probably vote for it myself,” Rodgers said.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis