Here’s How America Googled “Gun Control” After Orlando

Bad news for the NRA? Maybe.

Yin Bogu/Zuma

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It didn’t take long after the massacre in Orlando for the conversation to turn to gun control, especially considering the shooter allegedly used a weapon of war that he purchased legally just days before his attack on the gay nightclub.

Is the worst mass shooting in history enough to finally move the needle on the gun control conversation? Time will tell. But an interesting perspective on the question comes via the team over at Google Trends, who have been crunching the search giant’s internal numbers on searches related to guns. Take a look how searches—represented on the maps below as ranked search terms within Google—have evolved over the last year, and even in the wake of the Orlando massacre.

Here’s the 2015 average for the search terms “Gun control” and “Gun shop,” with each state colored by whichever term had a higher average search rank:

You can see that “Gun shop” was the higher search term in most states in 2015, but that was starting to change in 2016. Take a look:

 

But that’s changed in a big way since Orlando, where searches for “Gun control” dominate in every state except Kentucky:

The “gun control” search term might have had a bounce post-Orlando since it’s a natural topic of conversation and one of the major news topics over the last few days and it is unclear whether a massacre of 49 mostly LGBTQ innocent people has inspired the population to take gun control more seriously. But maybe something is changing. Google Trends also looked at the same type of search traffic in the wake of other mass shootings, including after Oregon, Virginia, and Charleston. In those cases, search traffic for “Gun control” spiked only after Oregon:

 

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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