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While [Eli] Dicken was praised for his courage and skill – squeezing off his first shot 15 seconds after the attack began, from a distance of 40 yards – much of the news coverage drew from FBI-approved statistics to assert that armed citizens almost never stop such attackers: “Rare in US for an active shooter to be stopped by bystander” (Associated Press); “Rampage in Indiana a rare instance of armed civilian ending mass shooting” (Washington Post); and “After Indiana mall shooting, one hero but no lasting solution to gun violence” (New York Times). 

Evidence compiled by the organization I run, the Crime Prevention Research Center, and others suggest that the FBI undercounts by an order of more than three the number of instances in which armed citizens have thwarted such attacks, saving untold numbers of lives. Although those many news stories about the Greenwood shooting also suggested that the defensive use of guns might endanger others, there is no evidence that these acts have harmed innocent victims.

“So much of our public understanding of this issue is malformed by this single agency,” notes Theo Wold, former acting assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice. “When the Bureau gets it so systematically – and persistently – wrong, the cascading effect is incredibly deleterious. The FBI exerts considerable influence over state and local law enforcement and policymakers at all levels of government.”

As many on the left seek more limits on gun ownership and use in response to mass shootings and the uptick in violent crime, and many on the right seek greater access to firearms for protection, the media’s reliance on incomplete statistics in covering incidents such as the one at the Greenwood Park Mall takes on new significance.   

The FBI defines active shooter incidents as those in which an individual actively engages in killing or attempting 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 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%. 

Two factors explain this discrepancy – one, misclassified shootings; and two, overlooked incidents. Regarding the former, 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, these cases were not listed as being stopped by armed citizens because the attackers were later apprehended by police. In two other incidents the FBI misidentified armed civilians as armed security personnel. In one incident, the FBI simply failed to mention the citizen engagement at all.

— John R. Lott Jr. in How the FBI Undercounts Armed Citizen Responders to Mass Killers — And Media Play Along

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  1. One would hope that basic statistics are reported honestly and accurately because if they are being slanted to an agenda not in the favor of law abiding citizens then there would be increasingly less reason to care about the words and whims of a disingenuous department.

      • Yeah I know, I remember when they bitched a fit at the idea of separating crime data of white to non hispanic and hispanic whites because it would make some groups look worse.

    • I don’t think the FBI can be trusted in any area that is politically manipulated. It was corrupt in J. Edgar Hoover’s days and it may be even more corrupt these days, especially its leadership. The first thing every new President did on the first day of his administration was to reappoint Hoover’s position at the FBI. This was done because Hoover used the FBI to dig up dirt on these politicians who were elected to the Presidency. It was a form of political blackmail that kept Hoover in office until he retired voluntarily. This jerk who heads the FBI now is just another political animal like Comey was. The FBI’s raid on Trump’s home was the last straw as far as I’m concerned. The DOJ and the FBI are now being weaponized against political opponents just as the IRS was by Lois Lerner against conservative political organizations. The Swamp that Trump is always warning us about consists of Republicans and Democrats alike. At least the Democrats are open about it. It’s the Republican Rats that are the real problem in this country. They use the Democrat fools as tools to get reelected over and over again. We have to smoke them out just like any other vermin is handled. I’m 80 years old and I’ve watched both Republicans and Democrats play their games to fool the electorate. The Liberals have gone nuts and the Republicans are infiltrated with Rats.

  2. Imagine that, a dishonest federal agency run by bureaucrats who are happy to run roughshod over the Constitution on their way to increasing their own power.

  3. The simple fact is that only a small fraction of the population has a carry permit. Yes, even with 25 states now recognizing the unfettered Constitutional right to carry without a permit, the number of people around you at any given time who are carrying will be quite small. Combine this with the fact that these cowards who seek to commit such heinous acts generally choose soft target areas where the law abiding are not supposed to be carrying and the odds of having the right guy/gal in the right place and time is infinitesimally small.
    BUT, who the f cares anyway? All this has no bearing on our civil, natural, and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in the first place.

    • You are absolutely correct, Gman. These “Gun Free Zones” where most of these mass shootings occur are really “Killing Zones.” A study should be done on how many mass shootings occur in these “Killing Zones.” That number has to be in the high 90 percentile.

  4. After the raid on POTUS DJT’s home it should be very clear the fbi has in its ranks slimeballs who will do anything they are told to do by scumbags in the democRat Party.

    • The same organization that refused to acknowledge the EXISTENCE of the mafia and other organized crime groups for nearly 5 decades?

      Gotta bust those civil rights activists for being commies instead.

  5. “Rare in US for an active shooter to be stopped by bystander” (Associated Press); “Rampage in Indiana a rare instance of armed civilian ending mass shooting” (Washington Post); …”

    Considering that a mass shooting in itself is an extremely rare event (better chance at winning the Powerball than being involved in one), it would logically correspond that an armed citizen stopping one is also a rare event.

    As the noted American philosopher Homer Simpson was quoted as saying, “DOH!”

  6. J Edgar Hoover cross dresser, blackmailer, hypocrite, buried next to his longtime live in male lover. Should anything surprise you? They been at this a while. We think we would be better served with a 9mm. Doesn’t it make it easier if you ban the most popular guns?

    • Ah yes the American stasi. What happened to the “if it only saves one child” meme?!? Even if their BS “statistics” were true so what? Those non-dead folks in Indiana were glad young Dicken blasted that puke…

  7. And when you consider those ‘active shooters’ that were not ‘mass shooters’, the number of ‘active shooters’ stopped/thwarted by ordinary law abiding armed citizens (not armed security or law enforcement) climbs into the thousands in the same time period.

    The FBI defines ‘active shooter’ as an individual engaged in attempting to kill people in a confined space or populated area. Many times daily across the nation ordinary law abiding armed citizens (not armed security or law enforcement) stop/deter/thwart ‘active shooters’ in store robberies, public spaces, home invasions, assaults, etc… by DGU.

    But the FBI application of the definition excludes gang (crime) related shootings and gun-related incidents that appeared not to have put other people in peril (e.g. self-defense/others-defense DGU where only the criminal was shot, or a brandishing by the defender that stopped or repelled the ‘active shooter’) and more common crimes (e.g., home invasion, robbery, assaults, etc…). The FBI studies/stats application also exclude incidents in which there were not two or more bad guys actually pulling the trigger. Basically the FBI only applies the definition to ‘mass shootings’ incidents where the bad guy was actually shot by the armed citizen and stopped as a result of being shot. These exclusions and FBI use of the definition are also present in the Texas study the NY Times used to slam the ‘good guy with a gun’ concept where if all the incidents of ordinary law abiding armed citizens (not armed security or law enforcement) stopping/threatening/repelling the ‘active shooter’ were taken into account that over 200 of these were stopped/thwarted/repelled in the study.

    I’ve already looked at this Texas study before and researched it. According to the Texas study:

    * Of the 433 active shooter attacks in the study, 249 ended before the police arrived (not explained in the study but some were multiple attacks where there were multiple shooters or they left and came back and this is the 249 that ended before police arrived, but this also indicates some data not accounted for in their math).
    * In 64 of those attacks a bystander subdued the attacker 42 times and shot the attacker 22 times
    *12 of the shooting bystanders were citizens, 7 were security guards, 3 were off duty police officers

    so lets go on… with their numbers

    *In 185 of the 249 that ended before police arrived 133 of that 185 left the scene before police arrived and 72 committed suicide. The study does not tell you that of the 113 that left 108 of those left because an ordinary citizen (not security or law enforcement) with a gun brandished their firearm and repelled the attacker thus stopped the active shooter without firing a shot. This study also does not tell you that of the 72 that committed suicide 68 did so either while under fire by a citizen with a gun and they could not escape or keep firing being suppressed by the citizen weapons fire but were not hit by the citizen weapons fire or the citizen brandished and the active shooter simply stopped firing and killed their selves when seeing the citizen brandish and closing in on them.

    some math: 185 – 72 = 113 attackers left to subdue but they departed the scene before being subdued and before police arrived …. so 249 – 72 – 113 = 64 attackers left to subdue on scene.

    This 64 is interesting because you will notice it includes two categories of defenders as if there are those with firearms and those without – those that shot the attacker (22) and those that subdued by physical force (42). Of those defenders that shot 12 were citizens, 7 were security guards, 3 were off duty officers. Its interesting because it does not mention that of those subdued by physical force that the shooter was stopped first in 18 of them by a citizen (not security or law enforcement) brandishing a gun but not firing but the attacker stopped firing when confronted by that armed citizen then the attacker was able to be subdued by physical force.

    So of the 433 attacks in the study armed citizen (not security or police) stopped the attack …

    108 + 68 + 12 + 18 + 25 = 231 attacks stopped by an armed citizen (not security or police) with a gun.

    Notice how the Texas study only credits an armed citizen (not security or police) with stopping the active shooter if they actually shot the attacker. This is the slanted biased part of such studies – they start by defining that an active shooter is only stopped by an ordinary armed citizen if the citizen actually shoots and hits the attacker and that causes the attacker to stop. They do not credit armed citizens that stop attacks by brandishing (and thus repelling) or firing on the attacker and suppressing the attacker so they can not continue but not hitting the attacker – these also stopped the active shooters.

    433 – 231 = 202 and of that 202 … 7 were shot by security and 3 were shot by off duty police. 7 + 3 = 10

    53.3% of these 433 active shooter attacks were stopped by ordinary armed citizens with guns.

    1.6% of these 433 active shooter attacks were stopped by armed security.

    0.69% of these 433 active shooter attacks were stopped by off duty police officers.

    There were 25 of the 108 the left that came back to try again and were repelled a second time. This happened before police arrived. In the study they are not counted as a separate attack. I count this 25 as a separate attack because it was. The 25 were stopped and repelled. They left ‘defeated’ at the point. But they came back to start again. This is two separate instances of their appearance in the target zone and required two separate instances of successful defense to repel them.

    • I copied my frequent summary and link to someone else’s study below, but a shorter summary is that when you count public shooters who were stopped before shooting the 4 dead limit, almost all were stopped by civilians, because they were on the scene; if police stopped the shooting, the time it took for them to arrive gave more time for more dead. I have not yet read the full link here.

  8. The FBI is a worthless joke. When they aren’t manufacturing their own crimes to “solve” they’re listening to “Louie, Louie” for a year trying to find subversive lyrics.

    I’d like to see a realistic FBI TV show. No more of this “zoom and enhance” fanciful super-tech and heroes charging in crap. Highlight the honeypots, the harassing of mentally ill people, the staged Klan rallies and of course dedicate an entire season to playing records backwards.

  9. The LE brass want to be the only “good guys with guns”. If they are the only game in town, they keep job security and can set policy.
    They constantly complain that the people are going to get hurt and they are the only ones with the training to accomplish the job at hand.
    They don’t want our help(and then some guy/gal comes by and saves their bacon), but that quickly disappears and it is back to the police state party line.

    • Why is the number of mass shootings that were stopped by armed citizens so important? There would be fewer helpless victims if more armed citizens were out there. This is common sense and common sense doesn’t interest people who want to control people by disarming them.

  10. If a mass shooting is stopped, it’s no longer a mass shooting anymore. So the statement “nobody ever stopped a mass shooting” is logically always true. Even though Eli Dicken may have very well saved a lot more innocent lives, they’ll keep mentioning that he did not save the first three victims.
    The question itself is a logical trap that asks you to prove a negative, which is impossible. That’s the game.

  11. I’ve posted this before, and I’ll keep posting it. Someone looked into this 10 years ago. I have only skimmed this current article, didn’t see any mention of this, so I’ll post this old link and reread slowly.

    Read or skim this 2012 article. Shooters stopped by civilians killed far fewer victims, because the stoppers were on the scene, whereas police had to be called, dispatched, arrive, coordinate, assess, and finally act cautiously. One begins to suspect there’s a reason Mother Jones and the police ignore shootings with fewer than 4 victims.

    I compiled and analyzed 100 shootings, noting my methodology, and I am now prepared to present my findings, complete with links to the data.

    The average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.29

    The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.33

    • Your numbers are correct Felix. It still holds true today, using today’s data I get 14.17 for the the average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police, and, 2.29 for the ordinary law abiding armed citizen defender – and an overall efficiency of 94.17% for the ordinary law abiding armed citizen defender (if on scene) and an overall efficiency for police of 6.32% and 7.37% for armed on scene security.

      Despite all the screaming and yelling and laws and training and all the other BS, overall the police today are no better able to stop or respond these shootings then they were in 2012

      Granted, a large part of the disparity is that police are not on scene quickly enough when such starts happening. For ‘school shootings’ the police efficiency is about the same but on average 6 or more are killed or injured before police arrive (if the response time is 2 minutes or more).

      The overall is that in the first two to three minutes of a mass/school shooting this is the time when the ‘active shooter’ has complete kill zone dominance and begins to inflict the most number of casualties if they are not stopped during that time of no police or another armed force on scene. Its critically important to stop them in this first couple of minutes, and police are not, and usually armed security is not, there. An ordinary law abiding armed citizen defender if they are there and act, they have the greatest chance of stopping, or at least delaying until police arrive, the ‘active shooter’ in that critical time period to keep the killer from establishing kill zone dominance. This was something demonstrated by Eli Dicken, he was there on scene and stopped the shooter from establishing complete kill zone dominance and although there were deaths and a few injuries there would have been a lot more waiting for police to arrive and handle it.

    • Probably more likely to be killed during a “no knock warrant invasion”! At least your dogs are!

  12. Since shooters typically select locations that are “gun free” zones, the opportunity for legally armed citizens being able to affect mass shootings is diminished.

    If the entire country was Constitutional Carry, the number of active shooters stopped by legally armed citizens would be much higher and would eventually reduce the number of incidents because the potential for a successful mass shooting would decrease.

  13. quote———–That is, the FBI reported that 4.4% of active shooter incidents were thwarted by armed citizens, while the CPRC found 14.6%. ———–quote

    The author of this article is best compared to a drowning man grasping at straws. Its laughable he his arguing and crowing about just a few percentage points. He actually could not see the forest for the trees.

    Fact. If you resist in a robbery the Stats prove that the majority of people killed in a robbery tried to shoot it out.

    Fact. Less than 3% of mass shootings are stopped by a citizen because the citizen in outgunned by a maniac wearing a bullet proof vest and a high power assault rifle.

    Lets face facts the maniac with the assault rifle of mass destruction is far more accurate and powerful than the citizen with an anemic pop gun pistol trying to shoot it out under stress.

    I have been a firearms competitor for decades and it takes much time in practice and today huge amounts of money to stay proficient with the handgun whereas even a person who never fired an assault rifle before in his entire life (as happened in Uvalde ) can kill people easily at short range with a deadly assault rifle of mass destruction.

    In other words the law of averages is far too much against you.

    Its only in the Hollywood movies that the good guy with the gun beats the bad guy that has superior firepower and bullet proof protection and who has the element of surprise.

    It is only the person with a little grey matter between his ears who is the one that realizes that its far better to prevent maniacs and criminals from getting guns in the first place. But the stupidity of the Far Right is always infinite.

    And finally in Japan last year just on person was gunned down with a firearm while on average 42,000 people a year die in a hail of gun fire and rivers of blood an carnage in the most violent industrialized nation on earth, the uncivilized country of Capitalvania where life is considered cheap and expendable.

    And one final thought the unpracticed citizen with a handgun stands little chance under stress of hitting a maniac between the eyes that has a bullet proof vest on and has an assault rifle.

    • Not an honest fact in your entire comment. See the well researched and documented statements of .40 cal Booger.

      I really wish .40 cal had a better name.

    • “…Less than 3% of mass shootings are stopped by a citizen because the citizen in outgunned by a maniac wearing a bullet proof vest and a high power assault rifle.…”

      Asshole, you’re a liar. (And the sky is blue.)

      You can count the number of shooters wearing body armor on one hand — it’s the extremely rare exception.

      And none have used an assault rifle.

      Prove me wrong.

    • Dacian,

      When you want to refute something, show your work like .40 did. Your stats are suspect, in fact most of what you opine here is suspect.

      Spouting an organization that is known to lie, and lie outright does not refute anything except your intelligence.

      But you do exactly what an insurrectionists does, lie.

    • dacian, the Dunderhead, More of your anti-gun rhetoric? Your 3% figure is yours and you made it up,
      The fact is that the FBI has no real way to measure whether or not a civilian stopped a mass shooter or any shooter for that matter as they do not have a REPORTING CATAGORY for that particular item?
      So point blank, either you are lying (probable) or you are grossly misinformed.

    • dacian, the Dunderhead. Your 3% figure is something you conjured up to fit your radical anti-gun agenda.
      The fact is that the FBI has NO WAY to measure how many civilians stopped a would be “mass shooter” as there is no reporting category for that particular item.
      Nice try. Either you are lying (most likely) or grossly misinformed.
      Incidentally have you ever found out the firing sequence of a cartridge?

  14. One time I arrived home from work to find my wife sitting at the table in my man cave with one of our son’s friends across from her. He had a pistol and was drunk on my beer. The wife went in the house. Shortly later I followed. She told me he had been “twirling” the pistol and had threatened to “shoot up” the nursing home near us, and she was scared. I armed myself and went out to my cave and found him asleep on the sofa with the pistol, later determined stolen, by his head on the pillow. I carefully and quietly removed it and left the cave to call police. The cretin must have heard the door close, because he came running from the garage, enraged. My revolver was out of the holster, aimed at his chest in a flash and I yelled to him, “don’t make me pull the trigger!” He stopped, ran back in, I went in the house, placed his pistol on a table, called police then guarded our door. When police arrived, he had grabbed his “escape kit” and dog and had disappeared into the woods. He was caught later and jailed for the pistol and other old charges against him (we had not known about those).
    The question is: Did I prevent the mass shooting he seemed to be intent on?

    • How odd, i’ve heard this story before except it was a neighbor (not a son) and the kitchen table and it was he was just drunk.

      No, no mass shooting was prevented. It would only be preventing a mass shooting if he was stopped at the place he was going to shoot up.

      • that is, actually stopping a mass shooting if he was stopped at the place he was going to shoot up. If you disarm them before they go there it would have been, in a manner of speaking, a ‘possible mass shooting’ prevented and in your scenario we would never know if it would have actually happened or not as it could have just been letting off steam while drunk or saying it to get a reaction from people while drunk. Drunks say and do a lot of stupid stuff with no real intent behind them.

  15. Gun control isn’t about gun control. It’s all about people control. These politicians who want to disarm the American People so they can be more easily controlled and dictated to use these mass shootings as a tool to help their agenda. They know that “Gun Free Zones” don’t work. That’s why they are always trying to create more and more of these zones so there will be more and more mass shootings. Don’t be fooled by these Commie Rats. They don’t care about the American People. The more Americans that die the more it helps their cause. School Shootings are their favorite tool to use. Do you really believe that they want to stop school shootings? That could be done with some effort and ingenuity. God Help Us All.

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