Host Piers Morgan of CNN gives a thumbs-up as he arrives on the red carpet for the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington April 28, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
A petition seeking the deportation of British CNN host Piers Morgan has gathered over 80,000 signatures after being submitted to the White House website.
The petition's popularity means the White House will have to respond to it in some manner early next year.
Morgan has been the target of gun rights advocates after his vocal statements in favor of gun control, particularly after the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Newtown, Conn. in which a lone gunman used semiautomatic weapons to kill 20 schoolchildren and six adults.
"There are nearly 12,000 murders a year from guns in this country," said Morgan on his CNN show after the Connecticut shootings.
"When are you guys going to focus on that, and stop telling me the answer is more guns? It is not the answer! How many more kids have to die, before you guys say, 'we want less guns, not more?'" he said.
A few days later, the petition was filed. It reads, "British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens."
There is no chance of any deportation actually happening, as the United States is justly proud of its protections of free speech.
"I don't care about petition to deport me. I do care about poor NY firefighters murdered/injured with an assault weapon today. #GunControlNow," tweeted Morgan in response, referring to two firefighters killed in an ambush by a man with a sniper rifle.
"Americans murdered with assault weapons in movie theaters, temples, schools, shopping malls - now, as they put out fires. Where does it end?," he added.
"Come on America, ENOUGH: Ban assault weapons & high-capacity magazines, and enforce background checks on 100% of gun sales. Do it now."
And it may be even more difficult to get rid of Morgan, as a British counter-petition to keep Morgan in the U.S. has garnered over 20,000 signatures. The tongue-in-cheek petition reads, "We want to keep Piers Morgan in the USA. There are two very good reasons for this. Firstly, the first amendment. Second and the more important point. No one in the UK wants him back. Actually there is a third. It will be hilarious to see how loads of angry Americans react."