Piers Morgan's comments about gun laws led to a petition drive to have the CNN anchor deported, but Morgan says he will save the government time by deporting himself if gun laws don't change.
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Morgan, a British citizen, spoke with Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt. During the interview, Morgan pressed Pratt to answer if he believed the way to deal with mass shootings involving the use of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is to continue letting Americans buy them. Pratt continued to say the Second Amendment protected American's right to own guns, but never directly answered Morgan's question.
A few days after the interview aired, Digital Journal reported that pro gun advocates had filed a petition with the White House asking that Morgan be deported. The petition, which was filed on the White House website "We the People", states:
"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."
Morgan has defended his comments, stating he was exercising his First Amendment rights. However, he is now saying that he is willing to save the U.S. Government and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) time by deporting himself if the gun laws pertaining to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines do not change.
In a column for the British newspaper, Daily Mail, Morgan recalls an occasion when he had the opportunity to shoot various types of guns, including sniper rifles and shotguns. He admits that the experience was "undeniably exciting", but says it also demonstrated that "guns are killing machines."
The Sandy Hook shooting reminded Morgan of the 1996 Dunblane school massacre. Sixteen children and a teacher were all killed in the shooting. The event led to stiffer gun control regulations in the United Kingdom. Although there was actually a surge of gun violence after the shooting and gun laws were put into place, which some experts attribute to mentally ill individuals attempting to gain publicity, the instances of gun violence across the U.K. have fallen over the past several years. According to a Home Office Statistical Bulletin, crimes involving handguns have fallen 44 percent in the U.K.
Morgan states that his gun control stance did not begin with the Sandy Hook shooting. He points to the January 2011 shooting of Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords as the moment he believed American gun laws needed to change.
Giffords' shooter, Jared Loughner, was using a high-capacity 33-round magazine in his Glock 9mm pistol when he shot Giffords. Law enforcement officers typically use a 17-19 round magazine. Loughner managed to kill 6 people and injure 20 more before he had to stop to reload. It was while he was attempting to reload the gun that he was subdued by bystanders.
Morgan states that since Giffords' shooting, he has watched mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Seattle, Washington and Newtown, Connecticut. Despite these tragedies, he points out that he does not believe that guns should be banned all together, saying:
"My argument with guns is not based on some universal, pathological hatred of them. I’m not a pacifist. Guns win necessary wars and defeat tyrannical regimes like the Nazis. I have a problem with those who use guns for hunting or for sport. Everyone should be allowed to have a gun at home for the purposes of self-defense."
According to Morgan, his issue with guns is that some believe that the 2nd Amendment states Americans can own any type of gun, regardless of how powerful it is, own as many guns as they want, and as many high-capacity magazines as they want. The fact is, the Second Amendment simply states:
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Morgan concluded his column by saying:
"I can spare those Americans who want me deported a lot of effort by saying this: If you don’t change your gun laws to at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage, then you don’t have to worry about deporting me.
Although I love the country as a second home and one that has treated me incredibly well, I would, as a concerned parent first – and latterly, of a one-year-old daughter who may attend an American elementary school like Sandy Hook in three years’ time – seriously consider deporting myself."