In the United States, at least, it is hard to remember a year that saw more unspeakable and tragic death at the opposite end of a lunatic's barrel than this one. I'm not going to recount these horrible and repulsive and nightmarish occurrences, the most recent of which took place at a small Connecticut elementary school. But I am going to state the obvious:
These tragedies transpired because a mentally and emotionally disturbed young man had access to semiautomatic guns.
Access is everything, and technology is moving to improve it still.
Today, with lax gun laws, lapsed assault rifle bans, loopholes aplenty, and the continued dominance of pro-gun lobbies like the National Rifle Association, we have cultivated an environment wherein it is comparatively easy to legally obtain and own a gun. That would explain why gun ownership rates in the U.S. are the highest in the world; also, maybe, why 34 people are shot and killed every day here.
We can dodge registration requirements by buying guns at antique shops or the infamous gun shows that can in actuality be casual transactions made almost anywhere. Some guns don't require permits, others do. For instance, in Connecticut, you need a permit for a handgun, but not a rifle. Which means some guns are especially easy to get. And the easier guns are to get, the more gun crime there's going to be. It's science.