Lott: How the FBI Undercounts Good Guys with Guns Stopping Active Shooters By: S.H. Blannelberry


Year after year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation underreports cases in which armed citizen responders stop active shooters.

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One can extend the agency a little slack for missing a few stories as local media reporting isn’t always precise and the 24/7 news cycle is unrelenting and sometimes headlines get buried.

That said, what is unforgivable is when Dr. John Lott Jr., president of the nonprofit Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), confronts the FBI with stories it clearly overlooked and the agency refuses to adjust its annual “Active Shooter Incidents” report.

As Dr. Lott explained in a recent interview with radio host Andrew Wilkow (see video above), this failure by the agency to amend the data matters because much of the public debate over the efficacy of armed citizen responders as means to stop active shooters centers around the FBI’s annual report.

If we don’t paint a complete picture, we won’t truly understand the role good guys with guns play in thwarting these attacks.

As Dr. Lott observed in a recent article published by RealClear Investigations (emphasis added):

The Bureau reports that only 11 of the 252 active shooter incidents it identified for the period 2014-2021 were stopped by an armed citizen. An analysis by my organization identified a total of 281 active shooter incidents during that same period and found that 41 of them were stopped by an armed citizen.  That is, the FBI reported that 4.4% of active shooter incidents were thwarted by armed citizens, while the CPRC found 14.6%. 

The other wrinkle to this story, as GunsAmerica previously reported, is the rate at which good guys with guns stop active shooters in gun-friendly zones vs gun-free zones.

After all, we cannot expect a high prevalence of engagement from law-abiding gun owners in places where guns are banned.

It’s also no coincidence that most mass killings, over 90 percent, happen in gun-free zones. Criminals prefer the path of least resistance, aka soft targets.

When Dr. Lott crunched the numbers, he found that armed citizen responders stopped 40 percent of active shooters in gun-friendly zones.

“In areas where people legally carrying guns are allowed, at least 40% of active shooting attacks are stopped,” Lott said in a separate CPRC newsletter about the FBI numbers.  Again, that was the time period between 2014-2021.

That figure is astounding!

Imagine the paradigm shift in the public’s way of viewing this issue if it knew that good guys with guns stop two out five of active shooters in places where one’s 2A rights are embraced. It would be the end of gun-free zones. It would also put would-be mass killers on notice: no more soft targets.

Unfortunately, you won’t hear any of this being discussed in the mainstream media. Nor will you see a concerted effort by the FBI to get the active shooter data right.

Makes you wonder if either institution really has a desire to stop these deranged psychopaths because when they ignore the truth, they suppress the widespread implementation of the most viable solution out there: armed citizen responders.