Justice Stevens: 'Maybe You Have Some Kind of Constitutional Right to a Cell Phone...'

By Melanie Arter | October 16, 2012 | 1:12pm EDT

President Barack Obama awarding the Medal of Freedom to retired Justice John Paul Stevens. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) - Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, speaking at an event hosted by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project, said Monday said that having “some kind of constitutional right to a cell phone with a predialed 911 at your bedside might be better protection than a gun.”

“I’m not sure I actually have captured the entire question, but it does occur to me that one thing that I thought about from time to time is that maybe you have some kind of constitutional right to have a cell phone with a predialed 911 number at your bedside, and that might provide you with a little better protection than a gun, which you’re not used to using,” Stevens said.

Jonathan Lowy, Brady Center Legal Action Project director, read a question from the audience, saying: “The Supreme Court held that the 2nd Amendment assures our right to have a handgun in the home for self-defense as you say. This question’s asked: ‘That protects only gun owners. What about those who don’t have guns? Surely they have a right of self-defense. Instead of relying on the 2nd Amendment and dealing with gun laws, wouldn’t it be more rational to rely directly on the right we all have to self-defense. What are your thoughts on that?’

Stevens was appointed to the high court in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. He retired in 2010. He is considered the third-longest serving justice.

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