FBI Undercounts Armed Citizens Stopping Mass Shootings


According to Secrets, an independent report reveals that the FBI greatly undercounts the number of times a mass shooting has been prevented by law-abiding citizens.

The new report shows that there was some undercounting “by an order greater than 10”, suggesting that the “good guy with the gun” event may have been involved in at least a third of the attacks.

John R. Lott (president of the Crime Prevention Research Center) stated that there were 360 active shooter incidents in that time period. He also found that 124 citizens were stopped by armed citizens.

“There were 24 additional cases where civilian armed forces stopped armed attacks. However, the suspect did not fire his gun.” “These cases were excluded from our calculations.” “However, it is possible to argue that a civilian also stopped what could have been an active-shooting event,” he said.

He found that 34% of FBI cases were stopped by armed citizens between 2014 and 2021. This is not the 4% FBI cited. The media often ignores the importance of legally armed citizens.

Lott didn’t assign blame for the differences but instead pointed out how some shootings were counted in FBI reporting.

This discrepancy can be explained by two factors: misclassified shootings and overlooked incidents. Concerning the first, the CPRC found that five shootings were misclassified by the FBI. In two instances, the bureau noted in its detailed writeup that citizens with valid firearm permits confronted shooters and forced them to flee. The FBI didn’t list these incidents as being stopped or armed citizens, because the attackers were later captured by police. The FBI also misidentified armed civilians with armed security personnel in two other instances. The report also stated that the FBI did not mention citizen engagement in one incident.

Lott discovered that the percentage of legal gun owners stopping shootings rose from a single digit to 34%-49% when Lott adjusted and corrected the numbers.

He also claimed that gun-free zones are a hindrance to good data and defenses, which if eliminated would increase the number of shootings.

“In the period 2014-2021, citizens prevented 104 of 204 mass shootings. We could also identify that there were guns in the area. People legally carrying concealed handguns stopped 51% of the attacks.” Lott stated, “58% of attacks in 2021 were stopped by people legally carrying concealed handguns.”

He said that the numbers showed that if there were gun-free zones, more people would be able to stop these attacks.