New research shows that accidental gun deaths may increase in the wake of a mass shooting.

The surge in firearm sales that can follow a mass shooting may result in more deaths than the shooting itself, according to a new study.

It was already known that mass shootings could drive up gun sales, thanks to research led by David Studdert of Princeton University that found handgun sales in the US shot up after the Sandy Hook and San Bernardino mass shootings. Studdert put the effect down to heightened fear about personal safety and security.

A new analysis of the Sandy Hook killings, published in the journal Science, confirms the surge in firearm sales and also finds a spike in accidental deaths by gunshot.

The authors, health economists Phillip Levine and Robin McKnight, from Wellesley College and the National Bureau of Economic Research, Massachusetts, US, studied Google search data to estimate exposure to guns in the US after Sandy Hook.

They theorised that people who entered “buy gun” into a Google search were more likely to purchase a new firearm, and those who typed “clean gun” were more likely to bring an existing gun out of storage.

The researchers found the frequency of both searches spiked immediately after the shooting.

Read the full article in Cosmos magazine here