Major Errors in FBI’s ‘Active Shooter’ Report Perpetuates Narrative that Good Guys w/ Guns Don’t Stop Bad Guys with Guns

Perhaps, the most under-discussed story in the mainstream news right now is the FBI’s inability to accurately track defensive gun uses (DGUs), specifically as it relates to how often good guys with guns stop active shooters. 

The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), a nonprofit research organization, has been leading the charge in exposing the errors in the FBI’s annual “Active Shooter” reports. 

The major issue is the FBI continues, year after year, to underreport the number of times law-abiding gun owners engage these determined killers to save lives and prevent the next Parkland or Sandy Hook.  

Whether the FBI is purposely suppressing the data or whether it’s just incompetence by bureaucratic pen pushers is anyone’s guess. But the result is the same.

Joe Public remains susceptible to the anti-gun narrative that good guys with guns don’t stop bad guys with guns, and that the best way to prevent active shooters is to broadly restrict 2A rights.

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Obviously, that’s not the case. But thanks to CPRC, we now have hard data to prove it. Here’s the breakdown penned by Dr. John Lott Jr., the organization’s leader.

The FBI reports that armed citizens only stopped 11 of the 252 active shooter incidents it identified for the period 2014-2021. The FBI defines active shooter incidents as those in which an individual actively kills or attempts to kill people in a populated, public area. But it does not include those it deems related to other criminal activity, such as a robbery or fighting over drug turf.

An analysis by my organization identified a total of 360 active shooter incidents during that period and found that an armed citizen stopped 124. A previous report looked at only instances when armed civilians stopped what likely would have been mass public shootings. There were another 24 cases that we didn’t include where armed civilians stopped armed attacks, but the suspect didn’t fire his gun. Those cases are excluded from our calculations, though it could be argued that a civilian also stopped what likely could have been an active shooting event.

The FBI reported that armed citizens thwarted 4.4% of active shooter incidents, while the CPRC found 34.4%.

That’s the average over that time span.  It may have been more common overall, but the farther CPRC researchers go back in time the more cases they are likely to miss due to the limitations of online searches.  

DGU stories tend to get buried in the news cycle, which is part of the reason GunsAmerica tries to cover them as much as possible. Indexing them for future reference is critically important so that we have all the facts on the table when we debate this topic with those who wish to terminate 2A rights.

Here’s the CPRC chart illustrating the actual percentage of mass public shootings that are stopped versus the FBI’s reported total:

(Chart: CPRC)

There is even more to the story. Such has how often active shooters are stopped in gun-free zones versus gun-friendly zones.

As you might imagine, in places where responsibly armed citizens are encouraged to carry, intervention is more likely to occur. For a complete breakdown, head over to the CPRC website.

Spread the word as well. Let others know that beyond a doubt, armed citizen responders save lives and stop active shooters.

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About the author: Chris Linville Chief Operating Officer for GunsAmerica.com & GunsAmerica.com/digest. 3-Gun Competitor, firearm collector, and second amendment supporter.

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  • Kane October 17, 2022, 11:06 am

    Great point by John Lott!!! A “good guy with a gun” CANNOT by the FBI definition be counted as a DUG in a restricted zone therefore the stats are skewed. Bringing a firearm into a restricted zone is a violation of the law and so either the armed citizen is now a criminal or they are disarmed.

  • HyperLoose October 14, 2022, 6:26 pm

    Anyone who has been paying just a little bit of attention to the acts of the FBI over the past 10 to 20 yrs. are keenly aware of their deceptive nature. Knowing how they’ve deceived us at every turn one should also know they deceived us with the Parkland and Sand Hoox (HooK) fake shootings. Both of those staged events were federal government operations with the FBI running cover! When writing stories about those shootings as if they were real is doing the FBI’s dirty work. In other words “being their little b**ch.” The evidence is out there proving just how fake those shootings were. It’s a shame the courts are allowed to get away with their public abuse of the law on TV as witnessed in the A. Jones trial debacle. Until those who are supposed to be pro gun do their due diligence and start calling a pig a pig and a lie a lie we will continue to see more abuse of the people in the judicial system!

  • Stan d. Upnow October 14, 2022, 10:23 am

    “Whether the FBI is purposely suppressing the data or whether it’s just incompetence by bureaucratic pen pushers is anyone’s guess. But the result is the same.”

    Given the well established fact that the FBI is nothing more than a corrupt Leftist tool at this point, I choose the first statement. The Entire agency needs a thorough “house cleaning” top to bottom. That goes double for the DOJ, the FBI’s boss.

  • Robert Lee October 14, 2022, 10:08 am

    If we take the FBI stats at face value and the interventions are in the 4 to 6 percent range shouldn’t that trigger the “if it saves one life it’s worth it” and the “do it for the children” cliches like when they are taking away our rights?

  • Liberalism Sucks October 14, 2022, 9:14 am

    What do you expect from an agency that the totalitarian Commiecrats have weaponized in order to help spread “donkeypox” throughout the USA? Disarmed citizens are no longer citizens, but rather subjects, slaves and serfs, and any lie that will help the leftists further that agenda will be promoted.

    • Stan d. Upnow October 14, 2022, 10:29 am

      Yup. One of Trump’s major failings was his inaction on ridding the DOJ & FBI of the Obama Deep State hold-overs. I think he now realizes the price he’s paid for that oversight. Plus, the whole country has suffered as a result.

  • Barry October 14, 2022, 9:11 am

    The results of the FBI studies of active killers over the last several years show that RAPID VIOLENT INTERVENTION on the part of anyone attacking the killer (i.e police, armed citizen, potential victim violently fighting back, etc) has quickly stopped the majority of these incidents. Remove ANY of those options and the killer faces zero opposition. If they try to separate them all from each other, every number will be so small that they give up and say no one should respond at all.

    The other problem with the FBI tracking of defensive gun use in general is that they can’t quantify a negative. Most defensive gun uses stop the crime from occurring without firing a shot, so the statistic doesn’t even get reported to the FBI; they can’t add up what they aren’t aware of. Heck, many crimes thwarted by an armed citizen aren’t even reported to the police at all, which is definitely impossible to quantify. Whereas, the VAST majority of shootings with a victim do get reported, altering the statistics in the anti-gun perspective.

  • Larry C October 14, 2022, 8:22 am

    What else would anyone expect from the FBI?? The used to be the premier investigative agency. Now they are nothing more than the Democratic Party’s KBG. Nothing more – Mothing less!

  • Louis October 14, 2022, 7:32 am

    Great report ! I wonder why CPRC doesn’t knock at the door of many regular news channels. Most of the time we hear or read these kind of things among us (“self-defensers”), never on regular news channels, something has to be done for that. Keep on your good work !

  • survivor50 October 12, 2022, 8:41 pm

    I have to disagree with the ” Narrative that Good Guys w/ Guns Don’t Stop Bad Guys with Guns… ”

    I’m still here… and a BOATLOAD of ” THEM ” are not !!!

    ( There would be a lot MORE… but hose damnable ” Geneva Conventions ” get in the way … maybe next time… )

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