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Fareed's Take: Blaming Mass Shootings On Mental Illness Is A Dodge; America's Reaction To The Las Vegas Mass Shooting; Is Gun Control The Answer For America; The Meaning Of The Second Amendment; Discussion of the Second Amendment; Examining Australia's Gun Control Experience. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired October 8, 2017 - 10:00   ET



Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

Today, the massacre on the Las Vegas Strip. Yet another stark reminder of America's extraordinary gun problem. The time to talk about it is now and that is what we are going to do for this entire show.

What can we learn from other countries? What does the Second Amendment actually say? What could the United States government do to keep its citizens safer.

Call this the stop the madness show.

Now, here is my take.




ZAKARIA: That was Donald Trump trying to explain the latest mass shooting in the United States. We hear this expressed routinely after every new incident. But it is a dodge, a distortion of the facts and a cop out as to the necessary response.

There's no evidence that the Las Vegas shooter was insane. You'll notice, by the way, I prefer not to use his name and give him publicity even posthumously. We won't show his photo either.

He did not have a history of mental illness nor had he been reported for behavior that would suggest any such condition.


ZAKARIA: He was clearly an evil man, but evil is not crazy. If we define the attempt to take an innocent human being's life as madness, then, of course, every murderer is mad. If not, we should recognize it is a meaningless term that adds little to our understanding of the problem.

Actually, the quick assumption of mental illness distorts the discussion. First, it smears people who do have mental disorders. Such people are not inherently, highly prone to violence. They are, more often than not, victims of violence than perpetrators. And to the extent that some are violent, they are more likely to inflict harm on themselves.

Second, turning immediately to the sickness of the shooter and piously calling for better mental health care is, more often than not, an attempt to divert attention from the main issue - guns.

Every conversation about gun deaths should begin by recognizing one blindingly clear fact about this problem. The United States is on its own planet.

The gun death rate in the US is ten times that of other advanced industrial countries. Places, like Japan and South Korea, have close to zero gun-related deaths in a year. The United States has around 30,000.

This disparity is the central fact that needs to be studied, explained and addressed. When seen in this light, it becomes obvious why focusing on mental health is a dodge.

The rate of mental illness in the United States is not 40 times the rate in Britain. But the rate of gun deaths is 40 times higher than in Britain. Now, America does have about 15 times as many guns as Britain per capita and far few other restrictions on their ownership and use.

And this is not simply a case of America being different from the rest of the world. Data that looked carefully at gun violence across America states finds a similarly tight correlation.

Those states that have some of the highest percentages of gun ownership have among the most gun-related deaths. And those with some of the lowest rates of gun ownership generally have the fewest deaths.

How to tackle this issue is a more complex problem, made particularly difficult by the fact that we refuse to study it. Literally.

One of the main government agencies that sponsors research on public health, the Centers for Disease Control, has been virtually forbidden by law from doing any research on gun violence and public policy for two decades.

A law championed by the NRA essentially prohibits the CDC from sponsoring research that might advocate or promote gun control. So, in America, in 2017, we have a ban on scientific research that might lead to inconvenient conclusions.

Given the Second Amendment, given America's gun culture, given the influence of the gun lobby, there isn't any simple answer.

[10:05:02] But there are many small fixes that might make a big difference. Universal background checks. Restrictions on military- style weaponry, of which banning bump stocks would be a tiny first step. A ban on selling to people with a history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

But first, we have to stop the dodges and the diversions. When you consider America's stubborn inaction in the face of this continuing and preventable epidemic of gun violence, I sometimes wonder if it is all of us Americans who are crazy.

For more, go to and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

Let's dig deeper into America's gun problem and how the world sees it with three guests, all of whom had interesting insightful columns this week about it.

Thomas Friedman is is the author of "Thank You for Being Late". He's, of course, also a "New York Times" op-ed columnist. His column this week envisioned how different it would have been if the Las Vegas shooter had been Muslim.

David Frum is a senior editor at "The Atlantic". His article this week for that publication was "Mass Shootings Don't Lead Inaction, They Lead to Loosening Gun Restrictions."

And Leah Libresco is a statistician who used to write for "FiveThirtyEight." I'll tell you about her piece in just a moment.

Tom, let me ask you what you meant when you said that this event would have been dealt with very differently if the guy had been a Muslim.

Let's begin by the fact, Fareed, that had this been an attack by a Muslim related to ISIS or Al Qaeda, it actually would've been the second-largest terrorist attack in America - the largest attack terrorist attack since 9/11. And we know how President Trump reacts to those kind of events. We know, as a society, how we react.

The president immediately tweets when there is a terrorist incident in Europe. He doesn't even wait for the facts and immediately politicizes them. We know he is trying to impose a ban on predominantly Muslim countries to prevent people traveling here, who he thinks would commit terrorist acts.

He's trying to build a wall on the Mexican border. I'm sure we would've had a non-partisan commission to investigate how this act happened, who let these people through.

We know what happens when there's an incident like this from our own history. And, of course, in this case, basically, nothing is happening. There's some talk of limiting the amplification mechanism this guy used to more rapidly fire bullets.

But when the perpetrator is a foreign country, we immediately say what was the country of origin and how do we attack this and how do we prevent it from ever happening again. When the country of origin is us, then we hear no evil, speak no evil and say no evil.

ZAKARIA: And, David, from, of course - the numbers are staggering, right? Something like under 100 people have been killed in terrorist attacks since 9/11 and we have spent trillions of dollars on it. And meanwhile, something like 150,000 people have died of gun deaths since 9/11.

And as you point out, gun laws keep getting looser after each of these events. Why is that?

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE ATLANTIC": Because public opinion believes that guns make you safer. There are many illusions in this debate. One of them is the great and good American people want gun control and are thwarted by a few selfish interest groups.

Unfortunately, that's not true. The great and good American people believe - and that belief has been rising over the past 20 years that guns make them safer.

And it's not considered politics to say that great and good American people are wrong. They are wrong about that. They are mistaken. Guns in the home are dangerous.

If you keep a gun in your house, you're putting your children at risk. Suicide, accident, homicide.

We restrict ourselves to certain topics because we have such a powerful vested interest. And as a result, we have reached a point where it is perfectly legal in 44 of the 50 states for a gunman to strap a weapon of war around his neck, walked to within a certain number of paces of a school, typically 1,000 paces, and so long as he doesn't take the 999th pace, no one can say anything to him.

You want to have gun safety, you have to begin with the assumption that gun ownership is a privilege, not a right, and that gun owners can be checked for the responsibility that they say they have and so often lack.

David, David Brooks of "The New York Times" used your column as a starting off point. And his argument is that the reason we have this increase in support for guns is that people are confronting a kind of postindustrial world, in which there is very little that gives them a sense of almost tribal, emotional security, and guns play that role.

Does that strike you as right?

FRUM: I think that's right. And one of the rules again of this debate is we have to act as if the desire for gun ownership is rational.

[10:10:05] No matter how blatantly the fantasies are expressed, no matter how blatantly the racial fears and the sexual anxieties - I mean, a lot of this is about reasserting a man's place in a world in which many American men feel displaced. After all, how can you be a loser if you're able to kill so many people.

ZAKARIA: Tom Friedman, you travel the world a lot. How do you think people are reacting around the world to something like this?

FRIEDMAN: Well, Fareed, I want to go back to your point about David Brooks' article that this is, in many ways, a cultural phenomenon. And I think we're facing two of those.

I think the response of the very same people to the threat of climate change is also really based on culture, is based on a certain identity marker that real men don't believe in climate change.

But, basically, if you step back and think about what we're saying, in the wake of the two most ferocious hurricanes in the Atlantic that we've ever recorded, that have caused now about $200 billion in damage, and in the wake of a mass killing in Las Vegas that has killed almost 60 people and wounded 400, 500 others, we have a party, the Republican Party, that is saying the right response to both of those things, for their kids and the future of the country, is to do nothing. And that is a travesty.

ZAKARIA: Leah, you point out, I've pointed out, there is even essentially a ban on doing any kind of research on this issue.

When we come back, so is gun control the answer? Maybe not. Leah Libresco will tell us what she found when she studied the subject.


[10:15:48] ZAKARIA: And we are back with Tom Friedman, David Frum, and Leah Libresco.

Leah, you wrote an article that went viral in "The Washington Post" that was titled, "I Used to Think Gun Control was the Answer, My Research Told Me Otherwise". Why don't you quickly summarize what you meant?

LEAH LIBRESCO, STATISTICIAN: Well, when I started looking much more deeply at proposals in gun control, what I found is that some gun- control proposals are simply incoherent.

We saw both Hillary Clinton and Kaine this week praise limiting silencers as a response to the Las Vegas shooting when silencers are badly named. They don't make guns silent, they make them slightly quieter, but still very noisy.

I mean, this is the kind of thing I'd repeated, hearing assault weapons bans praised when assault weapons are just a gun that has too many features snapped on to it like Lego bricks at point-of-sale. Once you take it home, you can add them back on yourself.

So, those kinds of policies are just often incoherent. They sound like they are posed post by someone who doesn't know anything about guns. And they erode the credibility of politicians proposing more serious solutions. ZAKARIA: But I have to say, I looked at your article and I was struck by the fact that this is a very complicated subject and there are so many variables that it's very difficult to find a very tight correlation.

But there is one mammoth study of studies. This is usually the kind of scientific gold standard in the Journal of Epidemiology, which points out that there is overwhelming evidence that tighter gun- control, fewer guns has an impact.

You can see it by the fact that the United States has 10 times as many gun deaths as any other advanced country. You can see it within American states, the countries that have more - the states that have more guns versus the states that have fewer.

It felt like you were trying to find a controversial conclusion and then cherry-pick the evidence to support it.

LIBRESCO: Not at all. I really believe that, if there were a lot fewer guns tomorrow, magically, in the US, we'd see a lot fewer gun deaths, simply because guns would not be available to people at the moment of considering suicide, at the moment of being angry as easily when committing a crime.

But the question is, what policies could actually get us to that place. So, what I looked at was policies in Britain and Australia, looking at the marginal change caused by gun bans and gun buybacks.

And in both of those countries, you didn't kind of see that massive, exciting shift I honestly wanted to see. It didn't transform a country into a much lower gun prevalence country, partly because when you do a buyback, you're not sure which guns you're buying back.

ZAKARIA: But it's also because, in many of these cases, in Britain, for example, the rates of violence are so low that it's almost impossible to tell what the -

LIBRESCO: Except in England, the gun deaths kept rising after their buyback, which doesn't mean that it made it worse. It just means that whatever else was going on may have swamped whatever effect it has.

But as a data person, looking at this data, I would root for a clearer result from gun buybacks. Instead you see a rise in England after the buyback -

ZAKARIA: From a tiny number to a slightly higher -

LIBRESCO: And in Australia, a drop. And in Australia, a drop. But at the same time, a drop in non-gun homicides and non-gun suicides, which makes it hard for me to honestly say I'm confident this will make a difference.

ZAKARIA: I mean, I guess, the question then becomes, how do you explain the extraordinary reality that the United States has 40 times as many gun deaths as Britain, 30 times as many as France, almost 75 times as many as Japan. Other than guns, I mean, do we have 75 times more crazy people than these countries? Do we have 75 times more violent video games than these - the only thing we have more of is guns.

LIBRESCO: I do think that's a major driving factor, but the question is, when people say this worked in England, this will work in America, will it actually?

If tomorrow we woke up and there'd been a gun rapture and all these guns had vanished, I would expect there to be fewer deaths. But of the actual policies being put forward, will they have the effect of making America suddenly a country that doesn't have this many guns and doesn't have the attachment to them?

ZAKARIA: David Frum?

FRUM: Leah is saying one thing that is true and one thing that is really alarmingly false. The thing that is false is the suggestion that there are other alternatives that would work better.

She says, in the article, more narrowly tailored. In fact, the alternatives to gun-control are all vastly more intrusive and more coercive and more expensive.

[10:20:10] For example, if we're going to identify men at risk, older men at risk of depression, there are 23 million men in the United States over the age of 65. That's a lot of people we have to inspect. There are a lot of domestic disputes. There are a lot of young men at risk of violence.

And, oh, by the way, the overwhelmingly predictive factor about those young men is race. So, that means our screening is going to be highly racially loaded.

The reason this debate is so complicated is because the obvious and correct answer is so politically prohibitive. The intellectual debate is simple. The political debate is complicated.

So, my solution - and this I think - that is the thing in Leah's article that is true is that the - the interventions that are discussed in the United States will not make any difference.

The intervention we need is beginning of a cultural change. And let me give you an example. In all but eight states, it is legal for a mother to strap her child into a car seat, roll up the windows and smoke a couple of packs of cigarettes. Mothers don't do that because they love their children, even though they may.

So, let's start by pounding into people's heads the idea, if you keep a gun in your house because you want to protect your children and you think you're, in fact, a bad parent. You're putting the gun at risk.

If you are accumulating all these weapons because you think you're a responsible gun owner, the very factor that you're doing it proves you're an irresponsible person.

Change the social view and then legal changes will become possible.

ZAKARIA: Tom Friedman, last word.

FRIEDMAN: I happened to read this morning about the Australian law, they had a mass murder there in 1996. They imposed a very stringent ban on automatic weapons and other registration points and did a massive gun buyback.

It has not been a dramatic drop off, but it's down 20 percent since 1996. That's not beanbag.

A country that has the most probably stringent gun laws in the world is called Japan. We have about 12,000 gun deaths a year. They had the year - couple of years back where they had two. Twenty two for them caused the national crisis.

So, it can be done. I do agree. You've got to find the right ways to do it. And we may not be talking about them, but it can be done.

ZAKARIA: We're going to have to leave it at that. We will doubtless come back to that. Thank you all for a fascinating conversation.

Next on GPS, the Second Amendment. What did the 27 words of that amendment mean when they were written in 1789? What do they mean today? Constitutional law scholar from Yale Akhil Reed Amar joins me when we come back.


[10:26:29] ZAKARIA: On December 15, 1791, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution were ratified. They form what we call the Bill of Rights.

The second of those amendments was comprised of these seemingly simple 27 words. "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

They might be the most debated 27 words in the English language. Listen to what former Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger, a conservative nominated by Richard Nixon had to say in 1991 about the amendment.


WARREN BURGER, FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud - I repeat the word fraud - on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.


ZAKARIA: I want to bring in one of America's finest constitutional scholars to discuss Burger's words and, more broadly, what the Second Amendment means. Akhil Amar is a law professor at Yale University. So, what Burger was talking about there was the fact that, in his view, there had been a reinterpretation of the Second Amendment in the 1970s to claim that individuals have this inalienable and inviolable right to own firearms.

But you say, actually, the Second Amendment has gone through many interpretations. So, take us through a kind of very brief history of the Second Amendment.


So, we have a vision at the founding and the vision emphasizes militias because America has just fought a revolutionary war, local militias against an imperial center, Lexington, Concord Bunker Hill. It's very Tea Party, anti-Federalist, localist military collective. That's the first vision.

ZAKARIA: And that's probably where it comes out of in the terms of the actual right -

AMAR: The initial language.

But then America's history is often defined by our wars, especially our constitutional wars. The next big constitutional war is the Civil War. And in that war, the central government are the heroes, the Union Army. And the Constitution is amended and it's amended with a different vision of arms bearing.

So, after the Civil War, the National Rifle Association actually is founded. It's a group of ex-Union army officers and they believe that there should be an individual right to have a gun in your home for self-protection.

So, original vision, very military and collective. This second vision, after the Civil War, individualistic, where we get the very strong affirmation of right to have a gun in your home for self- protection.

ZAKARIA: So, then bring us to the 1970s and what happened.

AMAR: So, in the 1960s and 70s, well, the liberals say, well, we want stronger protection of freedom of speech and of the press and religion and the rights of criminal defendants. This is the Warren Court Revolution. And the courts start to more vigorously enforce these civil liberties.

And other groups come along, like the NRA and say, wait a minute, if you're going to enforce the First in a vigorous way and the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures in a more vigorous way and Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights of criminal defendants, what about the second?

And so, the NRA starts to try to reinvigorate the Second Amendment. And true to its own roots as an organization tends to emphasize this individual right.

There's pushback initially. To people like Warren Burger, this seems like a new idea.

ZAKARIA: It does seem to me that, you know, Burger's point is correct in one sense, which is this is a very oddly phrased amendment. The first -- you know, the first clause, kind of, makes no sense, in the sense that what follows--

AMAR: I hear you.

ZAKARIA: -- doesn't follow logically.

So how does one think of it? What he seems to be saying is clearly the founders meant this was in the context of a militia. Otherwise why are those words there?

AMAR: I think he has a point about the founding. But in the same way the founder says -- said in the first amendment, "Congress shall make no law" abridging freedom of speech and the press. But today of course we say, "Gee, the president can't interfere with free speech and neither can federal courts, and by the way, neither can states or localities." We have a broader view, and rightly so, because after the Civil War, there was a new amendment passed. It was called the fourteenth amendment. And it actually says -- and here's its language -- "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

What are those privileges or immunities?

Basic rights, fundamental rights. And where do we find them? In the Bill of Rights, but we have a different understanding of the Bill of Rights than the founders did.

And we also find them -- one final thing. If you look at state constitutions, almost all of them today, and indeed in the 1860s -- almost all of them have today and in the 1860s did have strong affirmations of gun rights without often mention of militias.

ZAKARIA: So looking at this spate of gun violence and looking at the fact that the United States stands so far apart from the rest of the world, if people want to do something about it, what do you say as a constitutional scholar? What is the leeway for American law and regulation to do something about gun violence?

AMAR: I'm a Democrat. I'm a liberal. I don't have a gun in my own home. They scare me a bit. That said, I think we liberals should concede what the Supreme Court has twice affirmed in recent years, that people do have a right to have a gun in their home for self- protection. And once we concede that, then we can talk about reasonable regulations that are short of total confiscation, and the other side won't say, "Ah, every single thing that you propose, howsoever reasonable, is the first step on a slippery slope that will lead to total confiscation."

ZAKARIA: Akhil Reed Amar, pleasure to have you on. AMAR: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," I have a message to all who say gun control legislation will never happen in a country whose politics are dominated by conservatives. You're wrong. I'll show you a country where a conservative government did actually pass serious gun control legislation after a massacre. Indeed I will introduce you to a conservative farmer-turned-deputy-prime-minister who was instrumental in keeping his nation safer from guns.



ZAKARIA (voice over): In 1996, Australia experienced the worst mass shooting in its history. Thirty-five people were shot to death at a popular tourist destination in Port Arthur, Tasmania.

A nation in mourning decided that enough was enough. A conservative government -- that is right, a conservative government -- passed strict gun control laws and bought back over 600,000 guns already in circulation in this gun-loving nation.

In the decade that followed, gun homicides fell 59 percent and gun suicides plummeted 65 percent, according to one study.

Here to tell us all about it is Tim Fischer, the deputy prime minister at the time who helped to get the measures passed.

Mr. Fischer, welcome. Thanks for joining us.

FISCHER: Greetings, Fareed and CNN.

ZAKARIA: When people think about the rest of the world, they tend to think that countries outside of the United States have a very different culture and attitude towards guns. But Australia is not so different. It's a settler society with a frontier culture. And people have a long and proud history of gun ownership. Was that hard -- was it hard to introduce the kind of measures you did, given that culture?

FISCHER: It was hard, John Howard, the then prime minister, and myself as deputy prime minister -- we just had to muscle up. We had to make a set of decisions and negotiate with the states and then take the arguments to the public square full-off. And, step by step, John Howard, myself and many others won the arguments, notwithstanding some intervention by the NRA into the Australian scene to try and upend our efforts down here.

ZAKARIA: The part of the country you come from is actually particularly proud of its guns and the gun culture. Were you -- what was the argument you made to people who had guns?

You're a farmer yourself. You're a gun owner yourself.

FISCHER: Yes, I am, and a Vietnam veteran as well, and I speak to you just a few kilometers from gun shops in Albury-Wodonga. And we have a law-abiding gun culture in this country. I am not anti-gun. I do not hate guns. There's a proper role for guns for Australian farmers to this day and continuing. But we have drained the suburbs and towns of Australia of semi-automatics, most notably, and of course automatics. And that is a good thing and it stacks up when you see the outcome in terms of no mass gun shootings for 21 years since 1996.

ZAKARIA: You think the fundamental thing that is lacking is courage among America's politicians. I'be heard you say that before, correct?

FISCHER: I realize -- I have respect for democracy and I respect the second amendment as it is printed, as it is worded, including its mention of the world "militia." But there are times -- in one sense, it's always difficult to find the exact right time. But I sense this particular period, this few days after this mass shooting in Vegas, 10/1 -- Vegas, 10/1, first of October -- over 50 people cut down, over 500 wounded. You just cannot do nothing in that circumstance.

And I note in recent times you have had several former presidents join together for the hurricane relief efforts around the USA, a good thing -- the two Bushes, Clinton, Carter, Obama, working together. What a powerful thing it would be if five former presidents were to push for incremental steps to bring some common sense before there are other mass shootings across the USA.

ZAKARIA: Do you -- are you hopeful? Do you look at the United States and are you frustrated, or do you think something could change?

FISCHER: Do nothing this time around and there will be widespread condemnation, anger and a sense, a belief that the best days of the USA are gone and it's now approaching dysfunctionality and a democracy deficit of the worst kind.

Do only one thing, deal with bump stock, and that's also inadequate, when you think about it. Why do you have to have unlimited-sized magazines to go hunting, to go shooting in a legal circumstance? And of course the answer is you do not.

So whilst they, the NRA, often maintain that the problem is not guns, the problem is the power of guns, the number of guns and the availability of those guns in circumstance after circumstance. And you fail to deal with that, it's going to have implications for your tourism industry and down from the rest of the world, the rest of the global village.

ZAKARIA: Tim Fischer, pleasure to have you on. Thank you, sir.

FISCHER: Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Up next, lessons from another nation, a nation that has had a homicide by gun rate of nearly zero in recent years. What can the United States learn from that country?


ZAKARIA: In our exploration of what other countries can teach America about guns, I want to bring you to a country that is the polar opposite of the U.S., Japan.

As you'll hear in a moment, it is extremely difficult to get a gun license in Japan and even mobsters are all but afraid to use guns. It's remarkable. Now, I'm not saying that America can ever be like Japan, nor should it be like Japan. But I want you to see this system because it has produced close to zero gun deaths annually in recent years.


ZAKARIA (voice over): Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. The basic premise of those laws: if you want to own a gun, good luck. Japan's firearm and swords control law state, "No person shall possess a firearm," before listing a few narrow exceptions for hunters and other categories.

For the brave few still willing to apply for one, they face an intricately designed bureaucratic obstacle course. Just ask Rick Sacca, a former U.S. Marine who was living on Mount Fuji when we met him in 2013.

He told us he was one of only a handful of foreigners in Japan to legally own a gun.

Back at his house, he showed us the binders full of paperwork he's had to deal with over the years. They were a bit overwhelming even to explain.

(UNKNOWN): What all do you have to do?


RICK SACCA (ph), FORMER U.S. MARINE: It's such a -- initially -- want to help me?


ZAKARIA: Sacca (ph) took over 20 hours of lectures, a written test, a shooting range class, and he passed a criminal background check. A doctor gave him a full physical and psychological exam. He also visited the police station more than five times, where he was interviewed in an interrogation room.

SACCA (ph): "Are you having any problems with alcohol? Are you having any problems with drugs? Are you having any problems with relationships, family, work, money?"

ZAKARIA: The police also questioned Sacca's (ph) family, his co- workers, even his neighbors. And to top it off, he had to give them a detailed map of his home.

SACCA (ph): To produce a floor map of where your firearm will be stored in your home is, kind of, unusual -- and photos that actually detail all of the locks that we have to have in there and show that it's done properly.

ZAKARIA: It took Sacca (ph) over a year to get approved.

SACCA (ph): That's our actual firearms license.

ZAKARIA: And he must renew his various licenses regularly.

SACCA (ph): The intrusion that occurs with the process regularly would never, ever be tolerated in the U.S.

ZAKARIA: It's a process meant to discourage people from even trying to get a gun. And it works. Japan has fewer guns per person than almost any other country, less than one firearm per 100 people, according to one estimate.

And the country's gun murder rate is astonishingly low. In 2015 this nation of 127 million counted only one gun murder. That's right, one. The U.S. per capita gun homicide rate that year was nearly 4,000 times that of Japan.

In fact, guns are so rare and tightly regulated here that even mobsters avoid using guns.

Known as the Yakuza and often recognized for their full-body tattoos, Japanese organized crime doesn't lack for muscle. They have reportedly had enormous reach in business and politics, once described as the largest private equity group in Japan by Morgan Stanley. But many don't like conducting business with a gun.

(UNKNOWN) (TRANSLATED): Guns are like nuclear weapons, weapons that the Yakuza has but won't use.

ZAKARIA: A former Yakuza boss sat down with us to give us his take on the mob's attitude. He insisted on wearing a mask but showed us his tattoos and his partially missing finger, another Yakuza trademark to prove his identity.

(UNKNOWN) (TRANSLATED): Guns are kept and controlled by strict regulations within the Yakuza organization. So it's prohibited for members to take the gun out and use it.

ZAKARIA: That's because punishments for gun infractions are very high in Japan, he says. Simply firing a gun can get you life in prison. And if a foot soldier in the mob gets caught with a gun, his boss can also be held responsible.

So these days, the Yakuza conduct business using less efficient methods.

(UNKNOWN) (TRANSLATED): There aren't specific orders on what weapons we should use, but obviously there's only knives or Japanese swords instead of guns to kill.

ZAKARIA: Jake Adelstein says Japan's lesson for the U.S. is a simple one.

JAKE ADELSTEIN, L.A. TIMES INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: If you make strict gun control laws and you assign cops to enforce those laws and you actually enforce them, the rate of gun deaths in the United States would plummet. But you have to do it.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," how 3D printing makes America's gun problem worse.

First it was printing of plastic guns that might be missed by metal detectors. Now it is untraceable guns made of metal. It's the next technological revolution, coming up.


ZAKARIA: Americans own more guns per capita than residents of any other country, and it brings me to my question. What percentage of Americans own roughly half of the civilian firearms in this country, totaling about 130 million guns? Is it 3 percent, 13 percent, 23 percent or 43 percent?

Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is "The Remains of the Day". Kazuo Ishiguro was awarded a richly deserved Nobel Prize for literature this week, and his finest work is "The Remains of the Day." If you've seen the movie, trust me, the book is much better. It's beautifully written in a Downton-Abbey-like setting, but with a story that is about duty, memory, politics and love, one of the best novels by a living author that I have read.

And now for the last look: 3D-printed plastic guns have been around for years. But did you know there are ways to mill and assemble metal guns at home now? For under two grand, you can buy Defense Distributed's Ghost Gunner Milling Machine, which will now allow you to mill the frame of an N-1911 handgun, or if you prefer, the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle. These are the parts of those guns that normally have serial numbers so authorities can track them.

The rest of the gun, the guts of it, can be easily purchased online, as Wired pointed out. But this company allows you to mill and assemble untraceable, concealable guns without any prior experience, from your kitchen.

The company's founder, Cody Wilson, told us, quote, "The gun world already knows what this means. The fact that we are able to do the 1911 means we are able to do any frame."

I am reminded of a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

The answer to my "GPS" challenge this week is A. Three percent of American adults own an estimated 130 million guns, roughly half of all civilian firearms in the United States, according to a study to be published by the Russell Sage Foundation later this year.

That means 7.6 million Americans own an average of 17 guns each. The Las Vegas killer, of course, was set to have an arsenal of more than 40 guns.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.