MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont lawmaker has proposed a bill that would bar anyone under 21 from using or owning a cellphone — a move meant to draw attention to restrictions on guns.
The bill, introduced by Democratic Sen. John Rodgers, states that the Legislature has concluded those under 21 years old “aren’t mature enough” to possess guns, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol and the same should apply to cellphone use, the Times Argus reported Wednesday. The state recently increased the smoking age to 21 and barred those under 21 from buying a gun unless they take a hunter safety course.
Rodgers, who is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, told the Times Argus that the Legislature “seems bent on taking away our Second Amendment rights.”
“I have no delusions that it’s going to pass,” he said, “I wouldn’t probably vote for it myself.”
The bill presents information that Rodgers says shows a cellphone is much more dangerous than a gun.
The bill states that cellphone use while driving is a leading cause of death among teenagers and that young people frequently use cellphones to bully and threaten one another — behavior that has been linked to some suicides.
Voices for Vermont’s Children, an organization based out of Montpelier, issued a statement urging lawmakers to avoid “hollow diversions” and focus on issues like minimum wage and family and medical leave that are critical to the state’s working families.