Since the Newtown school shootings on Dec. 14, 2012, the text of the Second Amendment has been viewed 436,795 times on our web site. That is an increase of nearly 800% over the comparable period of time right before the shootings. The Washington, DC gun control case, District of Columbia v. Heller, shows a 330% increase in pageviews. Viewings of the annotations to the Second Amendment and other explanatory material on the LII site have increased equally dramatically. Roughly 1,700,000 people have come to the LII site after using Google to search for the Second Amendment. Social network referrals to Second Amendment materials on the site, and to DC v. Heller, increased by over 3200%.
There are two distinct peaks in traffic: on the Monday following the Friday on which the shootings occurred, and on Jan. 16, 2013, the day that President Obama announced a series of executive actions to reduce gun violence. The second peak showed well over 23,000 viewings of a page that, before Newtown, received an average of fewer than 500 views per day.
So far as states go, Maine had the largest increase in Second Amendment views (3090%), followed by Alaska (2890%), Idaho (1843%), the District of Columbia (1826%), and New York (1584%). As of January 11, it was anticipated that Maine legislators would submit 40 to 60 bills supporting some form of gun control during the upcoming legislative session. Alaska’s Speaker of the House recently introduced legislation that would make it a misdemeanor to enforce Federal gun-control laws in the state.
A quick survey of tweets linking to our Second Amendment page shows opinion being divided almost evenly for and against. So far as public opinion goes, there’s no conclusion to be drawn from these statistics. But one thing is certain: in 20 years, we have never before seen a single topic (Constitutional or not) drive so much interest over so sustained a period.
[NB: Taken together, some of the statistics seem incongruous. The reason, I think, is differences in sample sizing between different parts of Google Analytics, which can generalize from as little as 3% of our total traffic for some purposes.]