Last week, I wrote about a rather hilarious petition posted on the White House’s official site We the People that asked for America to build a death star. Because that petition gained 25,000 signatures within a certain time limit, the Obama Administration has to respond to it. Well, sure enough, some other enterprising American citizens have posted a petition calling for the deportation of Piers Morgan, the British host of CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight. Why? For “attacking the second amendment”. Last time I checked, it had nearly 59,000 signatures. Allow me to pick this one apart…
DISCLAIMER: We at *AT* try our hardest to refrain from making political arguments in the interest of neutrality. Accordingly, we will not comment on second amendment issues, but rather on some of the funnier aspects of WTP petitions. Enjoy!
Ever since the horrible shooting in Newton, CT last week, American media has been ablaze with commentary on gun rights. Piers Morgan, the outspoken Brit who recently replaced Larry King as CNN’s primary talk-show host, has likewise been all over this issue; his stance is one of aggressive restrictions on gun rights for US citizens, probably due in no small part to his British roots. It is very hard to get a gun in the UK, and as a result, gun homicides are about 47 times lower than in the United States. So, it is not really that hard to see where Piers is coming from – but many Americans aren’t buying it.
Simply put, there are many: it is indisputable that if nobody was allowed to own a gun, firearm homicide rates would plummet in this country. However, the Second Amendment provides a sacred right to tens of millions of Americans in this country – one that will likely never be given up nor completely taken away. After all, gun laws in this country have their roots in colonial America’s resistance to British gun laws – indeed, the American Revolution would not have been won had such a large number of firearms been available to both the Continental Army and colonial militias.
The Solution (?)
Taken from the petition:
“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.”
So, Piers Morgan is attacking the Second Amendment by advocating for more restrictive gun laws, and the fact that he is a talk-show host makes it even more inexcusable. As a result, the signers of this petition want him deported. Simple, right?
The Other Problem…Created by the Solution
Wrong. The petition claims that Piers Morgan is attempting to undermine the Bill of Rights, but in fact, the petition itself is undermining the Bill of Rights more than anything else. They are correct in that the Bill of Rights does include the Second Amendment, but unfortunately for them, it also includes the First Amendment. For our foreign readers, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution basically guarantees free speech within our borders – even to non-citizens, residents, or non-resident aliens (illegal or not). That means that Piers Morgan’s right to speak about gun rights on television is constitutionally protected, as is anyone else’s. Given, there are a few types of speech that are excluded from this right, but you would have an extremely hard time convincing a federal judge that Piers Morgan’s speech qualifies as any one of those. (Interesting side note — the First Amendment is what gives us the right to petition the US government in the first place.)
And therein lies the biggest – and most embarrassing – problem with this petition: deporting Piers Morgan for speaking against unrestricted Second Amendment rights would violate his First Amendment rights. Or, in other words, punishing him for undermining the Bill of Rights would only require our government to…undermine the Bill of Rights.
Here is my opinion (and I’ll keep it short): I’m all for a constructive debate on big issues, but it would be smart to do some research before you engage in that debate. Bottom line, this petition is getting a lot of publicity in the media, much of it negative due to the issues outlined above. As a result, the individuals that created this petition have probably only succeeded in making the pro-gun side look bad. Oh well – rock on America.