REPORT: FBI Undercounts Good Guys With Guns Who Stop Mass Shootings

[Shutterstock koi88]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

The FBI allegedly underreported how often armed citizens thwarted active-shooter situations over the past eight years, according to a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC).

Data provided by the CPRC shows that 34.4% of active shootings were thwarted by a good guy with a gun between 2014-2021. The FBI, however, only lists 4.4% of active shootings as having been thwarted by an armed citizen during the same time frame. The CPRC identified 360 active shooter situations during 2014-2021, 124 of which were stopped by an armed citizen. The FBI identified 252 active shooter situations, with just 11 stopped by an armed citizen.

The report quotes Gary Mauser, a gun violence researcher and an emeritus professor at Simon Fraser University, who said that “the FBI database of active shooters cannot be trusted” and that the FBI’s underreporting could be the result of “bias or just incompetence.”

An active shooter is defined by the FBI as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” The definition does not include gang violence or incidents in which the shooting is related to other criminal activities. The CPRC explained the discrepancy between its findings and the FBI’s by suggesting that the bureau may have misclassified or overlooked some incidents.

The report notes two cases in which armed citizens thwarted a shooting but were not listed in the police report because the suspects were apprehended. Two other cases classified armed civilians as armed security personnel, according to the report.

The CPRC also pointed to a Dec. 29, 2019, attack at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, that left two dead. The FBI listed the incident as having been stopped by a security guard, even though the parishioner who fatally shot the suspect had simply volunteered to provide security and was not a professional, according to the report.

The CPRC said 25 incidents identified by the non-profit would have likely been mass shootings but were thwarted by armed civilians, as well as an additional 83 active shooting incidents that the FBI overlooked. (RELATED: ‘I Felt The Presence Of God’: Shooting Survivors Praise Armed Citizen Who Stopped Mall Shooting)

Fox News questioned the FBI on the alleged undercounting and were directed to page 2 of the agency’s 2021 active shooting report.

“The FBI works proactively to identify incidents that meet the scope of our study, using internal FBI holdings and repositories, official law enforcement reports (when obtainable), as well as open-source data,” the FBI report read. “There is no mandated database collection or central intake point for reporting active shooter incidents, which exists for other crimes. If additional incidents meeting FBI criteria are identified after the publication of this document, every effort is made to factor those incidents into future reporting.”

CRPC founder and president Dr. John Lott, however, said the FBI has been unwilling to adjust their data.

“What is particularly troubling is the unwillingness of the FBI and the media to correct these omissions when informed about them,” the report states. The FBI was allegedly notified of their omissions in 2020 but “refused to correct those errors,” CRPC alleges.