Interest In 'Gun Control' Is Fading, Google Data Shows

As usual, people appear to care in the days following a major shooting -- and then they lose interest.

America is already over gun control, just days after a nightmarish shooting left 10 people dead on an Oregon community college campus.

Google Trends data showed on Monday that despite a sharp spike in searches for "gun control" following the mass shooting, interest has essentially petered out.

Queries for "gun control" on Google, the world's most popular search engine, soared on Oct. 2, one day after the Oregon shooting.

Google gives a relative estimate about search popularity on a scale of 0-100. According to data for the month of October, searches for "gun control" reached their peak of 100 on Oct. 2. Then, the trend started to fade. There was a slight uptick to 52 this past Friday, when there were two more shootings on college campuses, but interest has fallen.

Put a different way, there was about half as much interest in "gun control" when the second and third school shootings of the month happened, compared to that first massacre.

It's a predictable pattern at this point. Last year, a shooter went on a murdering spree in California on May 23. Search interest in "gun control" peaked, and then it fell.

On Jan. 10, 2013, a student opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun in a high school science classroom. Interest in "gun control" soared on Google. Then it dissipated.

As for the prevailing American attitude on guns this year overall: Searches for "gun shop" have been far more popular than searches for "gun control."

The usual caveats apply here: We can't really draw conclusions about overall public attitudes based on Google searches. But we can understand what people are looking for more information on -- and we can see when people begin to lose interest.

It's possible that all of the outrage over gun violence this month translated into a surge of Google searches for "gun control" that immediately resulted in direct advocacy of and donations to anti-gun groups. Or that the search term became less popular because people simply didn't need the information anymore.

More likely, "gun control" is just the flavor of the week, as we've seen so many times before.

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