The Obama administration has responded to a petition calling for the deportation of British talk show host Piers Morgan, saying the First Amendment protects his right to use the media to push for gun control legislation.
“Let’s not let arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First,” White House press secretary Jay Carney wrote in his response to the petition, which argues Morgan is working to undermine the Bill of Rights. More than 100,000 Americans signed the document.
“President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.” Carney continued. “However, the Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press — fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy.
“Americans may disagree on matters of public policy and express those disagreements vigorously, but no one should be punished by the government simply because he or she expressed a view on the Second Amendment — or any other matter of public concern.”
Morgan began his anti-gun crusade after last summer’s mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. He ramped up his efforts when a crazed young man shot and killed more than 20 grade school children and himself in Newtown, Connecticut earlier this month.
Several conservative pundits have cited legal precedence in making their case to deport Morgan. Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto cited a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Kleindienst v. Mandel, where the Nixon administration refused to grant a temporary nonimmigrant visa to Marxist Belgian journalist Ernest Mandel.