Administration officials also took on marijuana legalization appeals.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to a petition seeking to deport CNN host Piers Morgan Wednesday, urging petitioners not to let their support for the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution interfere with their respect for the First Amendment.
Morgan urged stricter gun control laws on his show Piers Morgan Tonight in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December that left 20 children and seven adults dead including gunman Adam Lanza.
The petition posted to the White House’s We the People website asked that Morgan, a British citizen, be deported for disparaging the Second Amendment.
“President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms,” Carney wrote. “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.”
The petition, which garnered over 100,000 signatures, was among the most popular ever posted to We the People.
After the response was posted, Morgan tweeted: “President Obama has officially decided I am NOT being deported.”
The White House also responded Wednesday to three petitions asking the government to legalize marijuana nationwide in the wake of ballot measures that legalized the drug in Colorado and Washington state.
The response from Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, noted “the Justice Department is reviewing the legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington, given differences between state and federal law.”
The response also quoted from a Barbara Walters interview with President Obama in which he said “it does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law that's legal.”
Kerlikowske drew fire from We the People petitioners after an earlier response to petitions seeking to legalize marijuana, which prompted some petitions calling for his ouster.Image via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com