Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has called on United States lawmakers to ban automatic weapons following the Connecticut school massacre, alluding to Australia's response to the Port Arthur massacre.

The News Corp chairman used the social media platform Twitter to express frustration at the easy availability of automatic and semi-automatic guns in his adopted country.

"Terrible news today," he tweeted. "When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy."

A gunman shot dead 20 small children and six teachers in the small Connecticut town of Newtown, in one of the worst school shootings in history.


Following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, in which 35 people were killed, then prime minister John Howard imposed tough national gun laws.

Military-style semi-automatic firearms were banned and a guns buyback program led to shooters surrendering more than 500,000 weapons.

After the 2002 murders of two students at Monash University in Melbourne by a licensed shooter, tougher licensing procedures were imposed on many handguns.