It’s been a heavy-duty media week for CNN host Piers Morgan. After publicly sparing with radio host Alex Jones, the popular personality and anti-gun advocate is capturing headlines for yet another reason. The White House officially responded on Wednesday to a much-publicized petition (one that Jones was purportedly involved in) calling for Morgan to be deported.
After bringing in 109,334 signatures, the Obama administration was forced, as per its pledge to respond to all petitions exceeding 25,000, to offer an official response. In a statement published on WhiteHouse.gov, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reminded those behind the petition — as well as those who signed it — to “keep the First [Amendment]” in mind when defending gun rights.
Rather than naming Morgan or spending time defending his specific character, Carney spoke generally about the need to respect freedom of speech and the press. He wrote, in part:
Let’s not let arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First. President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. 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.
We recognize that the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, sparked an intense, and at times emotional, national conversation about the steps we can take as a country to reduce gun violence. In fact, your petition is one of many on the issue, and President Obama personally responded by sharing his views on this important issue.
So, there you have it. Morgan’s speech — like its contents or not — is protected. Read Carney’s entire response here.
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