Piers Morgan has bid farewell to CNN viewers after three years hosting his nightly chat show. The British journalist and news anchor used his final sign-off from Piers Morgan Live as an opportunity to denounce the "scourge of gun violence" - a campaign he acknowledged "has been a consistent and often very controversial part of this show".
Speaking to his viewers yesterday evening in his final three minutes as host, Morgan joked about his reasons for departing. "This is the final Piers Morgan Live. After three years, two months, eleven days and over one thousand shows, I'm departing to spend more time with my cricket bat."
He then continued with his more serious message: "The scourge of gun violence is a disease that now infects every aspect of American life. Each day on average, 35 people in this country are murdered with guns, another 50 kill themselves with guns and 200 more are shot but survive. That's 100,000 people a year hit by gunfire in America.
"Now I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theatre and then just a few months later, 20 first graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, the absurd gun laws in this country would change but nothing has happened.
"The gun lobby in America - led by the NRA - has bullied this nation's politicians into cowardly supine silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms. This is a shameful situation that frankly has made me very angry. So angry in fact that some people have criticised me for being too loud, opinionated and even rude when debating the issue of guns but I make no apologies for that."
Morgan concluded, "My point is simple: more guns doesn’t mean less crime as the NRA repeatedly tries to tell you. It means more gun violence, more death and profits for the gun manufacturers. And to those who claim my gun control campaigning has been 'anti-American', well, the reverse is true. I am so pro-American, I want more of you to stay alive.
"But I’ve made my point. I’ve given it a tremendous whack. Now it’s down to you. It’s your country; these are your gun laws. And the senseless slaughter will only end when enough Americans stand together and cry: Enough!
"I look forward to that day. I also look forward to seeing you all again soon. Thank you and God bless America. Oh, and while I'm at it, God bless Great Britain too. Goodnight"
Watch the full footage of Morgan's sign-off below: