Will Lessons From Down Under Stem the Undertaker Here?

"If you're serious about preventing violence, you need to go about it in a comprehensive way," argues Rebecca Peters, one of the world's leading experts on gun control, who played a key role in Australia tightening its gun laws.

Peters argues the United States could take a few initial steps that Australia took to make the country safer. The first step, she argues, would be to bring back the assault weapon ban. One of the next important changes would be to expand background checks: currently, gun owners undergo checks only if they buy a new gun – not if they buy a used one.

She also pointed out two changes that Australia made to its background checks after the Port Arthur massacare that might have prevented Adam Lanza from obtaining the weapon he used in Sandy Hook Elementary.

Australian background checks now require information about who gun owners live with. If police had determined that Lanza wouldn't have qualified to own a gun, his mother might have been either refused permission, or required to keep her guns locked in a different location.

She also advocated increasing waiting periods and expanding checks on owners who want more than one gun.

"When you're talking about reducing motor vehicle accidents, you don't only rely on seat belts, you don't only on speed limits, you don't only rely on highway design, you don't only rely on motor vehicle standards, but you have a set of them. Similarly, they're a set of measures that together constitute regulation to prevent gun violence," Peters told ABC News.

Gun rights advocates have criticized Peters, arguing she and other gun control advocates are trying to strip the right of self-protection. But she argues many Australians continue to own guns for hunting and for sport and that the new laws have not in any way diminished Australian freedom.

"In fact, people are more free in Australia," she said. "People are not afraid to express their opinion because they're not afraid someone near them might take issue and want to pull a gun on them. You can walk on the streets and know you're your chances of being shot are 1/30th the chance in the USA."

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