Updated at: 12/18/2012 11:36 PM
(AP) CANBERRA, Australia - The former Australian prime minister who banned private ownership of rapid-fire guns says President Barack Obama can succeed in introducing new national firearm restrictions in the United States.
Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday quoted former Prime Minister John Howard as saying Obama would be "surprised" by the level of support that Howard received from conservatives by increasing gun controls.
Howard called marshaling support for new controls "difficult, but it can be done."
Howard’s spokesman Kieran Walton declined to comment. Howard has declined most media interviews since 20 students and six teachers were shot dead at a Connecticut elementary school last week.
Howard brokered an agreement with states that banned ownership of semi-automatic guns with few exceptions after a gunman killed 35 people in Tasmania state in 1996.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)