A former head of Australia's anti-gun coalition says US president Barack Obama should use his status as a two-term president to push gun reforms through Congress.
There are growing calls for action on gun control after the slaughter of 20 young children and six of their teachers at a Connecticut school on Friday.
As the US once again struggles with the issue of gun control, the success of John Howard's 1996 laws banning semi-automatic weapons in Australia has been raised in the American debate.
The New York Times has referred to Australia's gun laws as a "road map" for the US, saying that "in the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings - but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect."
Former Australian deputy prime minister Tim Fischer says he is not surprised the Australian example is being cited, saying time has shown that the strong national laws were justified.
But he says the US politicians he has spoken to "can't get their minds" around the banning of assault weapons, or even uniform licensing laws.
"I am making very little progress... as they just could not get their mind around the simplicity of having a harmonised shooter's licence scheme and weapon registration scheme," he said.
"It is sad that the death toll from guns is horrific in the USA because there are so many millions of guns with so little cross-checking, character checking.
"A ban on assault weapons have been allowed to largely expire through a lack of willpower to stand up to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the nonsense too often spoken by the NRA."
In 1996 Rebecca Peters was the chair of Australia's National Coalition for Gun Control.
She went on to work on anti-gun campaigns in the US and eventually headed up the International Action Network on Small Arms.
"This year there have been 16 mass shootings [in America] but this latest one, which is the worst in terms of the number of victims but also because the victims are small children, it just seems so much worse so that really caps a very, very violent year," she said.
A ban on assault weapons have been allowed to largely expire through a lack of willpower to stand up to the National Rifle Association and the nonsense too often spoken by the NRA.
Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer
In August Mr Howard wrote an opinion piece for the Fairfax press in which he said "there is a near religious fervour about protecting the right of Americans to have their guns".
In the wake of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, earlier this year, he expressed his disappointment with Mr Obama's failure to act on gun control.
But Ms Peters says political timing and opinion polls are now on Mr Obama's side.
"In the election that's just gone the candidates supported by the gun lobby did not do well, did not win their races in general," she said.
"Also, the opinion polls show that even gun owners and members of the NRA, the majority of them when you say to them, would you support for example a requirement that every gun sale must involve a criminal background check, most of them say yes.
"So those factors means that it is possible that on this occasion something could come of it so that these lives would not be lost completely in vain."