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Expand chart
Data: Google; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Google searches about the El Paso shooting surged more than any other recent mass shooting — but the horror, outrage and interest toward the murder of innocent lives never seems to last long enough to provoke much change.

Why it matters: Mass shootings have become more common, but fading public interest relieves pressure on lawmakers to address the underlying issues.

By the numbers: Google trends measures search interest on a scale of 0 to 100, with zero being the lowest amount of search interest possible and 100 being the most.

  • Search interest ranked higher than 5 out of 100 only lasted for two or three weeks for most shootings. Sandy Hook was an exception, with 10 non-consecutive weeks of Google interest higher than 5.

Key takeaways: The bigger shooting events are loosely correlated with more search interest. 

  • Search interest in the term "gun control" spiked close to shootings targeting schools with kids involved.
  • "I believe people think more action will be taken for gun control when children are the victims because their death strikes an even deeper emotional chord among the population," said Holly Schroth, a senior lecturer at the Haas School of Business who specializes in social psychology.

The big picture: 40% of Americans surveyed by Gallup this year said that they were "very dissatisfied" with the nation's gun laws — up from 21% in 2008.

  • Since 2009, the share of people who have said that gun sale laws should be more strict has risen from 44% to 60%.
  • Guns even became the top 2020 issue following the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohios, Axios found. But the fervor doesn't tend to last.

What to watch: Searches for "mass shooting" have been steadily growing beyond the spikes that immediately follow attacks.

Go deeper: The Trump news cycle of 2018 in one chart

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
  4. States: New Mexico to allow hospitals to ration coronavirus medical care
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
2 hours ago - Health

A safe, sane survival guide

Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months:

Biden's debut nightmare

President-elect Biden speaks in Wilmington on Nov. 24. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

A dim, gloomy scene seems increasingly set for Joe Biden's debut as president.

The state of play: He'll address — virtually — a virus-weary nation, with record-high daily coronavirus deaths, a flu season near its peak, restaurants and small businesses shuttered by wintertime sickness and spread.