The U.S. government isn't pulling Piers Morgan's visa anytime soon.
A petition was posted to the White House's We the People forum last month calling for the CNN host's deportation back to his native England, started by gun-ownership enthusiasts in response to Morgan's advocacy for increased gun control in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Today, the Obama administration issued a statement reminding those who say they're defending the Second Amendment that the First Amendment allows Morgan to freely express his opinion.
"BREAKING NEWS: President Obama has officially decided I am NOT being deported. mf," Morgan tweeted in response to the White House's remarks, along with links to the We the People site and various stories about the back-and-forth.
"Let's not let arguments over the Constitution's Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First," stated White House press secretary Jay Carney.
"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 can imagine that the right to free speech and a free press are two of things Morgan was thinking of when he wrote in wrote in a Daily Mail op-ed that he loves America as a second home. The former tabloid editor also wrote, however, that the U.S. won't "have to worry about deporting" him if changes aren't made to existing gun laws to "at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage."
At press time, the demand for Morgan to return to his first home stood at 109,334 virtual signatures.
In a taped statement, Barack Obamanoted that the U.S. "has a strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation."
"And the fact is, most gun owners in America are responsible. They buy them legally and they use them safely," said the commander in chief. "And it's encouraging that many gun owners have stepped up to say there are steps we can take to prevent more tragedies like the one in Newtown, steps that both protect our rights and protect our kids."