It began as a tongue-in-cheek jab at CNN host Piers Morgan for speaking out against the right to bear arms. But a We the People petition calling to deport Mr. Morgan back to Britain has gained so many signatures that the White House made good on its promise to address it today.
Press Secretary Jay Carney released a statement, urging petitioners to not let arguments over the Second Amendment violate the spirit of the First.
"The Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms," the statement reads, "but [it] also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press — fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy."
Mr. Carney then used the opportunity to talk about gun control, mentioning that the president himself has responded to petitions following the Newtown shootings.
"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."
Mr. Carney ran a Dec. 21 video of Obama addressing the gun control petitions, following it with a excerpted transcript of Obama's Dec. 19 press conference on the Second Amendment.
It's unlikely very many, if any, seriously thought the president would deport a CNN host, but the petition, which garnered over 109,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon, reflects the passions surrounding the issue of gun control, or at least a passionate dislike among Americans for the British-born Mr. Morgan.