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:
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.