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Fareed Zakaria Begs 'Courage' from Lawmakers to Enact Gun Control

Piers Morgan isn't the only CNN host pushing a ban on semi-automatic guns. Fareed Zakaria hammered "anomalous" U.S. gun laws on Thursday afternoon and pointed to other countries for the strict gun control that America should strive for.

"And I think that Sandy Hook has been a huge turning point and there is a shift of consciousness. We are becoming more aware of just how anomalous the U.S. is," said the host of CNN's foreign affairs show Fareed Zakaria GPS. "So the real challenge here is going to be to take this shift in national consciousness and actually drive it through to make it a shift in policy."

[Video below. Audio here.]

 

 

What's the "policy" Zakaria wants? "It's not very complex," he maintained. "Australia put in place a ban on all automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Gun homicide in Australia has gone down 60 percent. Why? Because there's a real ban. They didn't have 600 exemptions like our '94 assault weapons ban had. So we know what to do."

Zakaria appealed to the "courage" of politicians to enact stricter gun laws: "The government could do this very effectively. The question is will our politicians have the courage to protect our children?"

A transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on January 10 at 3:08 p.m. EST, is as follows:

[3:08]

BROOKE BALDWIN: Joining me now from New York is CNN's Fareed Zakaria of Fareed Zakaria GPS. Fareed, I was thinking about this before. You and I haven't even talked since the shootings in Sandy Hook. 20 kids, six adults shot dead. We haven't spoken since the President declared these tragedies have to end. Do you think, Fareed, do you think that the Vice President is right? Has something changed because of this, keeping in mind we've had these debates before, and nothing seems to have really happened.

FAREED ZAKARIA: The country is clearly changing, Brooke. And I think that Sandy Hook has been a huge turning point and there is a shift of consciousness. We are becoming more aware of just how anomalous the U.S. is. We have 30,000 gun deaths a year, most countries have a few hundred. We have 10,000 gun homicides a year. England and Wales have, I think it's 35 or 40. We are beginning to realize that. The question is, will the political system change? There is still such a powerful lobby. There so many entrenched interests that have gutted, that have traditionally gutted any effort. First of all, they block it, and then if it happens they gut it and riddle it with exceptions and loopholes. So the real challenge here is going to be to take this shift in national consciousness and actually drive it through to make it a shift in policy.

BALDWIN: Riddled with holes, and Mayor Bloomberg calling it like Swiss cheese. We mentioned the Vice President just yesterday. He alarmed gun defenders by saying a gun control package might include an executive order. An executive order. That seemed to strike some as ominous, but our legal analyst Jeff Toobin tells us it's not a big deal. Listen.

(Video Clip)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN senior legal analyst: President Obama on his own by executive order cannot impose an assault weapons ban. Because Congress has to do that. Only Congress can pass a law. All an executive order can do is use power that Congress has already given to the President in a different law.

(End Video Clip)

BALDWIN: So you have a limit to what the President can do himself, and as soon as you say the two words "gun control," as you pointed out a moment ago, you have members of Congress, they start fleeing for the exits. Is the problem too big for our government, Fareed?

ZAKARIA: I don't think it's too big for our government. I think it's too big for our politicians, by which I mean we know what the solution is. This is actually one of these cases where people say it's very complex. It's not very complex. Australia put in place a ban on all automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Gun homicide in Australia has gone down 60 percent. Why? Because there's  a real ban. They didn't have 600 exemptions like our '94 assault weapons ban had. So we know what to do. The government could do this very effectively. The question is will our politicians have the courage to protect our children?

BALDWIN: Tell me about your special this Sunday, speaking of challenges the President faces, right? You've assembled some major heavy-hitters to talk about some of those challenges facing President Obama during term number two.

ZAKARIA: Well you know, he is only the 17th president to have a second term. And these generally don't go so well. So what I did was we talked to former secretaries of state, secretaries of treasury, chiefs of staff, and asked what would you do to make this a successful second term? And they've got some surprising answers.

BALDWIN: What would you do? Fareed Zakaria, thank you. Programming reminder, Fareed's special memo to the President airs Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern.


-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center