A new report by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) finds that the FBI’s Active Shooter Reports have massively underestimated the number of times armed civilians have stopped active shooter attacks. The CPRC analysis found that armed citizens stopped 157 of the 440 active shooter incidents that occurred between 2014 and 2022, a rate of 35.7%. This is significantly higher than the 4.6% rate reported by the FBI.
“The FBI’s Active Shooter Reports have significantly underestimated the number of times armed civilians have stopped active shooter attacks,” said John Lott, the CPRC’s president. “This is important information that the public needs to know in order to make informed decisions about gun policy.”
The Crime Prevention Research Center’s data forcefully highlights that the media’s primary sources have grossly undervalued the number of times armed citizens intervened in potential attack scenarios, overshadowing their life-saving acts by a factor greater than ten. Far from being an anomaly, armed citizens stopping these threats are more common than we’re led to believe. Yet, their heroics are all too often sidelined in national news coverage. While there are occasional implications in the news that using guns defensively might pose risks to others, no concrete evidence supports this biased claim.
The FBI’s official records indicate that from 2014 to 2022, armed citizens intervened in only 14 out of the 302 active shooter events they’ve identified. Their definition of such incidents centers on scenarios where an individual attempts or succeeds in killing others in populated public spaces, conveniently excluding situations associated with other crimes like robberies or territorial disputes over drugs.
However, a thorough review by the Crime Prevention Research Center pinpointed a total of 440 active shooter events during the same timeframe, with armed citizens stepping in 157 times.
An earlier report honed in solely on cases where armed individuals halted probable mass public shootings. An additional 27 scenarios where armed citizens preemptively acted against attackers—despite the absence of gunfire from the assailant—were not counted. Although these cases were left out, one could fiercely argue that these citizens indeed averted potential active shooting catastrophes.
The CPRC report found that the FBI’s reports have misclassified several active shooter incidents as non-active shooter incidents and that the FBI has also overlooked a number of incidents where armed citizens stopped attacks.
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