"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
Fareed speaks with former Australian Prime Minister John Howard about his country’s experience with gun control. To see this or other interviews, download the show at iTunes
What I'm struck by in the debate in the United States is that it takes on a left-right coloration, whereas in the rest of the world, generally speaking, it's conservatives who are in favor of being tough on guns, if you know what I mean. They tend to be the kind of policies that law enforcement officials usually support. You’re a very staunch conservative. You were a 100 percent supporter of George Bush during the Iraq War. You’ve always been a tough guy. Do you find it odd to find yourself on the “left side” of the debate?
This is not a conservative-liberal issues or a left-right issue. We’ve always seen it as being a question of public safety. And, on this issue, our experience was that we did have gains in public safety. We did have great gains in reduction of mass murder through the ban that we produced. Now, I know the history of gun ownership in the United States. I respect it. America has a Bill of Rights, Australia does not. The courts in Australia do not have the same capacity to decide these issues as they do in the United States.
So I acknowledge all of the differences. And, clearly, it is a debate that has to go on in the United States, without people from the outside giving any lectures. And I'm not doing that. I’m simply explaining what we did, what our feelings and emotions were. And there was enormous public support, especially in urban areas, for what we did 17 years ago. There was a lot of resistance inside sections of my own political base. But with the experience of 17 years, even the most cynical skeptical person would acknowledge that we have made a big difference with that prohibition.