To characterise public interest in gun control in the USA using internet search queries, we undertook a cross-sectional study of the relative popularity Google Trends searchers for ‘Gun Control’, ‘Second Amendment’, ‘National Rifle Association’ and ‘Mass Shooting’ from May 2015 to December 2018. 740 weeks of data were queried. Graphed data revealed nine major inflection points. Seven of the nine (78%) major inflection points were associated with mass shootings, while two of the nine (22%) were related to political events by either the president of the USA or a presidential candidate. Our exploration of Google Trends shows the frequency of national searches related to gun control peaks with mass shootings over a 1–2-week period and then stabilises to nominal relative popularity thereafter suggesting a need to engage the public on gun control during ‘trough’ periods in order to sustain national interest and dialogue.
- gun control
- Google Trends
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Contributors The work was performed via online collaboration. JDN designed the study with input from RMP, JDN and ARZ collected the study data and performed the data analysis. All authors contributed substantially to drafting of the manuscript. All authors have reviewed and approved the final manuscript. The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors agree to transfer copyright to Injury Prevention if accepted for publication.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.