Piers Morgan: Gun debate must be heard "loud and clear"

(CBS News) Piers Morgan has a long history of outrage towards the gun culture in America. After July's shooting in Aurora, the British CNN host said, "The day to debate it was yesterday to prevent this from happening."

But, after last month's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, his outrage boiled over. He has kept "Guns in America," as a primary focus of his nightly broadcast, and asked "How many more kids have to die, before you guys say, 'We want less guns, not more?'"

Critics petitioned the White House, calling for Morgans' deportation. More than 100,000 signed on to a petition for his deportation.

Tuesday, the White House responded, saying, "No one should be punished by the government simply because he or she expressed a view on the Second Amendment."

Morgan continues to tackle the divisive issue head-on -- this week he went toe-to-toe with Alex Jones, the radio host leading the call for his deportation on his own show.

Appearing Thursday on "CBS This Morning," Morgan said his interview with Jones and others in the pro-gun lobby, "exposes the reality of a how a section of Americans feels about this debate ... trying to frame anybody who wants more gun control as attacking the Constitution ... that's not what this is about."

"I don't know want to take an American's right away to defend himself or his family. That's a sacred right to Americans and I understand that and respect that."

He explained that his goal is to keep gun control at the forefront of national conversation, saying, "After Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head ... I couldn't believe the reaction was a week of horror and mourning ... and then everyone moved on and nothing changed. And since then massacre after massacre ... something has to give and I think the tipping point was Sandy Hook."

To prevent this "terrible spiral" of mourning and forgetting from continuing after Sandy Hook, Morgan said, "What we've done by keeping at the agenda as we have this week is we've made sure it hasn't go away and that's the crucial thing."

Morgan touched on changes to gun laws in the U.K as an important example. The tipping point in the U.K., he explained, was the Dunblane School massacre in Scotland in 1996. He called the event "an exact parallel to Sandy Hook," and in the aftermath, "Britain rose up in horror" and ultimately, there was a "complete national ban on handguns and assault weapons." Since then, Morgan said, "there hasn't been a single shooting at a school."

And while he acknowledged that the British solution may not be the American solution, he insisted, "This debate must be heard loud and clear," and added that, "I just don't believe that the majority of decent civilized Americans do not share my view that something has to give."

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