Massive errors in FBI’s Active Shooting Reports regarding cases where civilians stop attacks: Instead of 4.4%, the correct number is at least 34.4%. In 2021, it is at least 49.1%. Excluding gun-free zones, it averaged over 50%.

The shooting that killed three people and injured another at a Greenwood, Indiana, mall on July 17 drew broad national attention because of how it ended – when 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken, carrying a licensed handgun, fatally shot the attacker.

While 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 immediate 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 Crime Prevention Research Center shows 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, saving untold numbers of lives. Of course, law-abiding citizens stopping these attacks are not rare. What is rare is national news coverage of those incidents. 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.

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.

An analysis by my organization 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.

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

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, 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.

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.

As for the second factor — overlooked cases — the FBI, more significantly, 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.

There is no reason to think that the news media covers all the cases where civilians stopped attacks. And the farther back in time we go, the more cases we are likely to miss. The next table illustrates this bias. 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. That pattern is consistent with us having a more difficult time finding cases that occurred farther in the past.

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 FBI undercounts armed citizens stopping attacks

The FBI has been vastly undercounting the times a mass shooting or active shooting event has been stopped by legally armed citizens, according to an independent report provided to Secrets.

In the new report, some undercounting has been “by an order of more than 10,” suggesting that the so-called “good guy with a gun” event is not rare and may be involved in a third or more of the attacks.

“An analysis by my organization identified a total of 360 active shooter incidents during that period and found that an armed citizen stopped 124,” said John R. Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

“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,” he added.

In looking over FBI cases between 2014-2021, he found that some 34% were stopped by armed citizens, not the 4% cited by the FBI and often used by the media to dismiss the importance of legally armed citizens.

Lott did not assign any blame for the difference, instead citing how some shootings are counted in the FBI’s reporting.

“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, 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,” said the report.

Lott found that when he adjusted and corrected the numbers, the percentage of shootings stopped by a legal gun owner jumped from single digits to 34%-49%.

He also argued that gun-free zones were a hindrance to good data and defenses that, if eliminated, would boost the percentage of shootings stopped.

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How the FBI Undercounts Armed Citizen Responders to Mass Killers — and Media Play Along

The shooting that killed three people and injured another at a Greenwood, Indiana, mall on July 17 drew broad national attention because of how it ended – when 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken, carrying a licensed handgun, fatally shot the attacker.

While 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.”

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10 Times a Good Guy With a Gun Saved Lives

Last weekend, a law-abiding citizen with a gun quickly ended a mass shooting in progress at an Indiana mall as soon as the gunman began firing. Less than three weeks after the state’s constitutional carry law took effect, the armed bystander, identified as 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken, delivered the kill shot that stopped the active shooter who is accused of murdering three victims and wounding two others, including a little girl who suffered minor injuries.

Although it’s against Simon Property Group’s code of conduct for anyone to carry a weapon inside its shopping centers, local leadership was thankful the young man was “very proficient” with a pistol and took swift action regardless. Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison told reporters at a news conference that “the real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court.” The city’s “grateful” Mayor Mark Myers praised the “good Samaritan” who “saved lives” during the Sunday shooting and prevented “further bloodshed.”

“Many people would have died” if not for Dicken responding within two minutes of the assailant opening fire on mall-goers, Ison noted, adding that the young man had no police training or military background.

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Leftists Lash Out: 22-Year-Old Who Stopped Mall Mass Shooting Was No ‘Good Samaritan’

Leftists are pushing back against the praise being poured on 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken by claiming he was no “Good Samaritan.”

On July 19, 2022 Breitbart News noted that Dicken was receiving praise from police, mayors, and the very mall–Greenwood Park Mall–where Sunday’s attempted mass shooting occurred. He had his handgun on him, thanks to constitutional carry, and was able to engage and ultimately kill the attacker before the attacker could further execute his heinous attack.

A common statement in praise poured out was that Dicken was a “Good Samaritan.” But some on the left cannot handle the fact that Dicken was armed and ready and took care of business.

For example, David Leavitt tweeted, “You’d never need a “Good Samaritan” with a gun at Greenwood Park Mall or at any other place if there weren’t any guns to begin with.”

He also opined, “It wasn’t a “Good Samaritan” at Greenwood Park Mall. It was an armed vigilante.”

And CBS 4 Indianapolis traffic anchor Justin Kollar suggested:

The term, ‘Good Samaritan’ came from a Bible passage of a man from Samaria who stopped on the side of the road to help a man who was injured and ignored. I cannot believe we live in a world where the term can equally apply to someone *killing* someone… my God.

Michael Bloomberg-affiliated Shannon Watts, leader of Moms Demand Action, tweeted:

The NRA won’t tell you that defensive gun use is rare, and data shows criminal carry laws increase gun crime and gun homicides in the states where they’re passed. But most of all, these deadly laws increase gun sales, which is the real reason they’re pushing them.

On February 19, 2015, Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck re-affirmed his findings there are a minimum of 760,000 defensive gun uses each year in the U.S. 

Kleck’s numbers first came to the public’s attention in the early 1990s and are yet to be refuted with empirical evidence.

On July 14, 2022, Breitbart News pointed to a study from the Crime Prevention Research Center showing 60+ times a concealed carry permit holder stopped a mass shooting between December 17, 1991, and May 25, 2022.

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Good Samaritan Who Disobeyed “Gun-Free Zone” Stops Mass Shooter in His Tracks, Well Before Police Arrived

In Greenwood, Indiana, residents who visit the Greenwood Park Mall are not allowed to carry guns. This policy makes the mall an easy target for deranged psychopaths who wish to cause harm to others as they know their victims won’t be able to defend themselves. This is likely why a deranged psychopath chose the mall on Sunday and began murdering innocent people.

Three people were fatally shot and two were injured when a mass shooter opened fire inside the Greenwood Park Mall; and while this is certainly tragic — it could’ve been far worse.

As FOX 59 reports, last updated in April 2020, Simon Property Group states in its code of conduct that no weapons are allowed at their shopping centers. The group is the owner of the Greenwood Park Mall.

Fortunately for the folks inside the mall, a 22-year-old man from Bartholomew County decided not to obey the order to disarm himself before entering the mall. When the mass murdering psychopath began killing people inside, this 22-year-old hero pulled out his handgun and stopped the threat.

The Good Samaritan, as police called him, was a licensed concealed-carry permit holder. Despite the man disobeying the order, the police chief and the mayor are offering up their praises as his heroism and defiance likely saved countless innocent lives.

“The real hero of the day was the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in the food court and was able to stop the shooter almost as soon as he began,” Greenwood Police Chief James Iso said.

“Someone we are calling the ‘Good Samaritan’ was able to shoot the assailant and stop further bloodshed. This person saved lives tonight. On behalf of the City of Greenwood, I am grateful for his quick action and heroism in this situation,” Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said.

This mass shooting is just one of many mass shootings that have rocked the country in recent months and had this Good Samaritan not been there, it could have been one of the worst.

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