Thousands sign U.S. petition to deport Piers Morgan over gun comments

LOS ANGELES, Dec 24 (Reuters) - More than 48,000 people have

signed a petition that they posted on the White House website

demanding that British CNN talk show host Piers Morgan be

deported over comments he made on air about gun control.

Morgan last week lambasted pro-gun guests on his show, after

the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in

Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman shot dead 26 people,

including 20 children.

"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," the petition said.

The petition, started on Dec. 21 by a man identified as Kurt

N. from Austin, Texas, accuses Morgan of subverting the second

amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right

to bear arms.

U.S. citizens can file a petition on the White House

website, whitehouse.gov, if they collect at least 25,000

signatures within 30 days. The White House is then obliged to

issue a response.

Morgan, 47, a former newspaper editor in London, shot back

at his critics on Twitter. He repeated his past calls for the

United States to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines

and conduct background checks on all gun purchases.

Five days after the Connecticut massacre, Morgan called a

guest, Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners for

America, an "idiot," "dangerous" and an "unbelievably stupid

man" when Pratt argued that more guns were needed to combat

crime in the United States.

"I don't care about a petition to deport me. I do care about

poor NY firefighters murdered/injured with an assault weapon

today. #GunControlNow," Morgan tweeted on Monday, referring to a

shooting in New York that killed three people, including the

gunman.

Christa Robinson, a CNN spokeswoman, said the network had no

immediate comment on the petition.

Publicist Howard Bragman, vice chairman of Reputation.com,

said the controversy will get Morgan attention that may

translate into higher ratings and wouldn't harm his reputation.

"A lot of it comes from his being British, he's seen the

differences between the U.S. and UK, he's passionate and

authentic in taking this issue on, and it's probably only going

to help him attract more people to his show," Bragman, told

Reuters.