Yes it worked in Australia. And I'm so sick of the "only the criminals will have firearms" bullshit. How many mental health nut jobs or people who aren't criminals now have guns obtained legally? A lot. And even some criminals do have guns, how often does it happen that a civilian who is both armed and trained AND with the sense of mind to thwart an attack with their gun? rarely.
I think an important difference is the gun ownership in Australia was only at 7%. http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/gun-control-in-australia/ It decreased to 5% 13 years after the law change. The US has no firm stats on gun ownership, as many gun owners own multiple firearms and registration of many guns isn't mandatory. http://www.factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/ Polls like the following estimate closer to 30-60% ownership rates.
"The Small Arms Survey, a project of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, estimated in 2007 that there were 270 million civilian-owned firearms in the U.S. In 2001, there were an estimated 230 million. "
"Background-check numbers show a similar trend. They went from 11 million background checks in 2007 to 16.8 million in 2012, with December’s numbers not yet part of that tally,according to the FBI. Background checks are not an indication of sales, however, as they’re not always required, for instance for personal sales at gun shows in some states, and one purchaser can buy more than one firearm."
11 million people running background checks in one year? Compare that to only 7.6million people in the US buying passenger cars that year.
In this case Australia is a very poor comparison. Wikipedia says " In 2005 almost 3% of households in Canada possessed handguns, compared to 18% of U.S. households that possessed handguns. In 2005 almost 16% of households in Canada possessed firearms of some kind." Canada has required permits for handguns since 1892, so that's not a fair comparison, either. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Canada)
Disarming a nation is tricky businsess and is probably fairly impossible. I think a best case scenario would see a national registry and tighter purchasing restrictions.