Study shows FBI failed badly in assessing impact of armed citizens on mass shootings

By Bob Unruh

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A new report reveals that the legacy media reacted politically when there was a shooting at a mall in Greenwood, Indiana, last July that left three dead.

The shooting ended when a 22-year-old, Elisjsha Dicken, who was legally carrying a handgun, fired off shots from 40 yards away to take the gunman down.

The report from Crime Prevention Research Center noted the AP claimed in its headline: “Rare in US for an active shooting to be stopped by bystander.”

And the Washington Post claimed, “Rampage in Indiana a rare instance of armed civilian ending mass shooting.” And the New York Times? “After Indiana mall shooting, one hero but no lasting solution to gun violence.”

The truth revealed in the report, however, is that “the sources the media relied on undercounted the number of instances in which armed citizens have thwarted such attacks by an order of more than ten.

Explained the report, “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.”

The Crime Research organization said its own analysis “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.”

It then cited the FBI’s awkwardly inaccurate statistics.

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

That’s for two reasons, the first being misclassified shootings and the second overlooked incidents.

“The CPRC determined that the FBI reports had misclassified five shootings: In two incidents, the bureau notes in its detailed write-up that citizens possessing valid firearms permits confronted the shooters and caused them to flee the scene. However, the FBI did not list these cases as being stopped by armed citizens because police later apprehended the attackers. In two other incidents, the FBI misidentified armed civilians as armed security personnel. Finally, the FBI failed to mention citizen engagement in one incident.”

The report explained: “For example, the bureau’s report about the Dec. 29, 2019 attack on the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, that left two men dead does not list this as an incident of ‘civic engagement.’ Instead, the FBI lists this attack as being stopped by a security guard. A parishioner, who had volunteered to provide security during worship, fatally shot the perpetrator. That man, Jack Wilson, told Dr. John Lott that he was not a security professional. He said that 19 to 20 members of the congregation were armed that day, and they didn’t even keep track of who was carrying a concealed weapon.”

And regarding overlooked cases, the report said, the FBI missed 25 incidents identified by CPRC where what would likely have been a mass public shooting was thwarted by armed civilians.

“There were another 83 active shooting incidents that they missed,” the report said.

“Using the 2014 to 2021 data clearly shows that 49.1% of active shooting attacks were stopped in 2021, 45.1% in 2020, and a declining percentage the farther back in time that we go.”

Columnist Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner explained the evidence suggests “the so-called ‘good guy with a gun’ event is not rare and may be involved in a third or more of the attacks.”

The center’s president, John R. Lott, noted, “The numbers indicate if we didn’t have gun-free zones, we would have more people stopping these attacks.”

The report continued, “An early July survey by the Trafalgar Group showed that a plurality of American general election voters believe that armed citizens are the most effective element in protecting you and your family in the case of a mass shooting. First on the list was ‘armed citizens’ at 42%, followed by ‘local police’ (25%) and ‘federal agents’ (10%). [‘None of the above’ was the answer chosen by 23% of respondents.] A survey by YouGov in May – before the Uvalde, Texas, attack – found that by a margin of 51% to 37% American adults supported letting schoolteachers and administrations carry concealed handguns.”

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