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Public interest in gun control in the USA

Abstract

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
  • #ThisIsOurLane
  • Google Trends
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