Morgan has been at odds with gun advocates since the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook massacre, which prompted the British journalist to launch an aggressive pro-gun control campaign on his show, clashing with gun lobbyists, including his verbal spat with Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt whom Morgan told on the air, “You are an unbelievably stupid man.” Morgan’s gun control crusade led to a White House petition by gun advocates asking for Morgan’s deportation because of his “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment.” The petition has garnered more than 91,000 signatures to date, prompting Morgan to quip on Twitter, “Still only 90,000 Americans have signed the White House petition to deport me. That leaves 310,910,00 who presumably want me to stay.”
He went further in his column. “I will not stop in my own efforts to keep the gun-control debate firmly in people’s minds, however much abuse I’m subjected to,” he wrote. Morgan recalled being editor of the Daily Mirror during the worst British school shooting in 1996 when 16 five-year-olds were killed in Scotland’s Dunblane. It led to the implementation of strict gun control laws which Morgan credits with the country’s extremely low number of gun murders a year (35). He compares that to his stay in the US since 2007 when he first came to the country as a judge on America’s Got Talent. “Six of America’s 12 worst-ever mass shootings have occurred since 2007″ to “a woeful, shameful virtual silence” by politicians under pressure from gun lobbyists.
As for the petition to extradite him, “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,” Morgan wrote. “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.”
Morgan may not have to resort to self-exile as President Barack Obama today declared tightening gun regulations, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity bullet magazines, a top priority for his second term. Of course Morgan and his softly-rated primetime show have to pass muster with incoming CNN boss Jeff Zucker who is expected to shake up the network’s lineup in pursuit of a ratings turnaround.