With millions of Americans staying at home across the country during a crisis of intense emotional and economic stress, gun safety advocates have raised concerns about increased risks of unintentional shootings, domestic violence shootings, gun suicides, and city gun violence. Unprecedented spikes in background checks, meanwhile, reflect a dramatic increase in gun purchasing that compounds these risks.
Federal background check data, however, fails to capture the full spectrum of ways that people acquire guns, as well as the number of people who are removing guns from gun lockers or other storage. In an effort to cast additional light on issues of firearm access during this stage of the COVID-19 crisis, we used real-time Google search data to gauge interest in buying and cleaning guns across the country.
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