TALK show host Piers Morgan has vowed to continue lobbying for gun control in the US in the wake of a campaign to have him deported.
More than 60,000 people have signed a petition they posted on the White House website demanding the CNN talk show host be ejected from the States over comments he made on air about gun control.
However, the former Daily Mirror editor has spoken out again after two US volunteer firefighters were shot dead and two more injured as they arrived to tackle a fire in what police say was an "apparent trap" as they responded to an emergency call in the town of Webster in New York state on Monday morning.
Loading article content
Morgan last week created controversy when he lambasted pro-gun guests on his show, after the shooting on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children.
Morgan, 47, a former Daily Mirror newspaper editor, responded to his critics again on Twitter. He Tweeted about the shooting of the firefighters on Monday in New York – in which the gunman also killed himself: "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,"
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.
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who has been involved in a long-running feud with Morgan, tweeted: "Americans. Was the second amendment not introduced to protect you from the tyranny of the British? Piers Morgan in other words." And: "Perhaps we should start a petition to keep Piers Morgan in America! #dontsendpiersback"
Five days after the Connecticut massacre, Morgan called a guest on the show, Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners for America, an "idiot" and a "dangerous and unbelievably stupid man" when Mr Pratt argued more guns were needed to combat crime in the United States.
The petition demanded: "We demand 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, started a week after the killings by a man identified as "Kurt N" from Austin, Texas, accuses Morgan of subverting the second amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms.
US citizens can file a petition on the White House website if they collect at least 25,000 signatures within 30 days. The White House is then obliged to issue a response.
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.
He said: "A lot of it comes from his being British, he's seen the differences between the US 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."