FBI Undercounts Armed Citizen Intervention v. Active Shooters

John Lott spoke at the recent Gun Rights Policy Conference about armed citizen intervention in active shooter incidents. (Screen Snip, YouTube, SAF)

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- A stunning new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) says there have been “massive errors” in the FBI’s reports on active shooters in which armed citizens stopped the attacks, and a well-known scholar with extensive background on defensive gun uses says the FBI database of active shooters “cannot be trusted.”

The report, “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2021,” identifies 360 “active shooter incidents” in the years spanning 2014-2021, including 124 in which an armed private citizen stopped the mayhem. But, as noted by Fox News, “The FBI identified 252 active shooter incidents during the same time period, with only 11 thwarted by armed citizens.”

Professor emeritus Gary Mauser at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia is quoted in the report observing, “Whether deliberately through bias or just incompetence, the FBI database of active shooters cannot be trusted.”

The issue of defensive gun uses and active shooter misinformation was discussed at the Gun Rights Policy Conference by author and researcher John Lott, founder of the CPRC, now based in Montana. He told the audience about some of the research the center did last year, identifying stories about defensive gun uses during the first nine months. He said the five top newspapers in the country—the New York Times, Washington Post, the L.A. Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal—had a total of ten stories between them about such gun uses. Many of those reports noted something went wrong.

“By contrast,” Lott said, “they had something like 1,700 news stories about people being either murdered or wounded with guns. If you included gunshots by criminals, you had over 2,700 news stories. If you look at CNN and MSNBC, they had zero defensive gun stories over that period of time last year.”

Mauser told Ammoland via email, “Lott has the right of it. He is most meticulous in his analyses.”

For someone who follows news “religiously,” Lott said it would be easy to conclude that defensive gun uses virtually never occur, and the few times they do happen, something goes wrong.

Lott’s presentation at the conference may be seen near the end of this video.

The CPRC report notes, “What is particularly troubling is the unwillingness of the FBI and the media to correct these omissions when informed about them. When Dr. John Lott worked at the US Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy and the Office of Justice Programs in 2020, the FBI was notified of their omissions involving potential mass public shootings, but they refused to correct those errors. Lott had previously alerted the FBI to similar problems back in 2015 and he published the list in the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Today in March 2015, but corrections were never made even after the FBI admitted they were missing cases.”

According to the Washington Examiner, Lott “found that some 34%” of the active shooter incidents during his study years (2014-2021) “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.”

Perhaps even more disconcerting, the CPRC report states, “Requests to the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center on exactly how much of their $66.9 million in grants from the US Department of Justice (here and here) were spent on putting together the FBI’s list of active shooting cases has never been answered.”

Writing at RealClearInvestigations.com this past August, Lott stated, “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.”

He added, “there is no evidence that these acts have harmed innocent victims.”

The CPRC report quotes Prof. Carl Moody of William & Mary University, who serves as the group’s research director.

“The media and gun control advocates always seem concerned with the worst possible outcomes when firearms are involved,” Moody states. “We know that armed citizens do, in fact, stop active shooters. And while there’s a possibility of a bystander getting hurt, the data put together by the CPRC show that an armed citizen has yet to accidentally shoot an innocent bystander. We also know that the police have accidentally shot the hero citizen just once. That was in Colorado on June 21, 2021. That’s not something that would normally happen, because the police usually arrive long after the incident is resolved.”

The Fox News report recalled the incident earlier this year at the Greenwood Mall in Indiana, where legally-armed 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken successfully stopped a would-be mass shooter just seconds after the killer opened fire in the mall food court area. At a distance estimated to be 40 yards, Dicken began firing ten rounds of which eight hit the shooter, fatally wounding him. He was hailed as a hero by Greenwood Police Chief James Ison.

However, the Fox story noted, “Liberal-leaning media outlets jumped on the story and downplayed it, arguing that it is rare for a legal gun owner to stop a mass shooting. Some news stories pointed to the FBI data as evidence such instances are rare.”

But RealClearInvestigations.com has posted a list of armed citizen interventions overlooked—or omitted—from the FBI cases, dating back to 2014. There are 25 incidents included on the list.

Many in the firearms community believe such incidents go unreported because they do not “fit the narrative” that guns are bad and citizens with guns rarely use them properly to thwart mayhem.

That situation may gradually change as more people than ever before are licensed to carry defensive sidearms, and 25 states now allow permitless carry, so it probably cannot be accurately estimated just how many private citizens are legally packing.

What does seem clear is that available data does not accurately reflect the number of times an armed citizen intervenes to prevent carnage, but if it continues to happen, neither the FBI or the media will be able to overlook or ignore such cases.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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Matt in Oklahoma

They lied. The end.


Who would have guessed the FBI would lie about anything? How can you tell when the FBI is not being entirely truthful or completely unbiased? I think their record speaks for itself.


It’s not surprising. The FBI has become the most corrupt LE agency in the United States.


You mean the FBI told a FIB?


Exactly! as they so often do !!!


I agree, AFTER the ‘doINj’!!


Let’s face it. The FBI, DOJ, CIA, CDC, BLM, etc ………….. Are all bought and payed for by Soros and his minions. The Republic has rotted from the inside out.
“The Republic will stand until the people discover that they can vote themselves money.”


When the leaders at the top are all rotten corrupt piles of shit everything under thier command most likely is corrupt also . The apple does not fall far from the tree .


Government cannot be trusted to be honest, not on the state or federal level . They are all dishonest , that’s how they get to be politicians. By being lying piles of shit all of them .


Unfortunately that is coming to light way to slow. To many people believe every thing they see on the dummy tube and eat it up. The media is so complacent and rotten you can smell them from a state away!!


Just to go back a few years, Whitey Bulger and his “Winter Hill Gang” had six FBI agents on his Payroll. Nice Insurance Policy


I’m surprised Dr. Lott hasn’t been Arkancided. The common thread in every story regarding Tyranny verses Freedom starts at the same location…all schools K thru whatever. Any school that receives as much as $1.00 in Federal tax money is not just suspect they are guilty as Hell for causing the societal upheaval we are experiencing today and in the foreseeable future. Until we get off our asses and fix the problem we’re just spinning our wheels. I had a huge disagreement with my granddaughter recently about the public school she’s sending my 4 great grandchildren to. Like many, I bet… Read more »


Had to laugh when you said your Granddaughter thought HER KIDS” teachers “wweren’t like the other ones”. Bah HUmbugg. If they’ve been teaching in Washington more than three years they’ve either drunk the KoolAde or are paying off someone spayshull. FUrther, witih Inn Sleaze and Fergie at thetop of the dungheap that comprises Washington “government” there IS little hope. And Reykdahl? I had forgotten HE had ascended to that throne. $21K/student? We’re being robbed blind. They keep stumping for smaller classroom size, and they get it, eventually, but nothing changes. There IS no discipline or order in most classrooms. Can’t… Read more »


School choice 15k tax credit for getting our children out of public schools. That’s the solution.


Fuk Yes!
It’s sad that Washington has spiraled down to this garbage. Mostly red save 2 cities that decide everything.
Same with Commiefornia.


The FBI & most of the other 3 letter Gub’ment agencies lie as a routine part of their operations & cannot be trusted. They are enemies of the people, simple as that…


with the fbi, i would say just incompetence first, and then bias.
these guys, mauser, lott, gleck, martin have real research and data but neither the feds or lame stream media even attempts to look at it. it just doesn’t fit the projected narrative therefore must be ignored or lied about.
what do you expect from liars?


More LIES!! It only gets worse and it isn’t going to get any better for some time to come if it ever does.

uncle dudley

J. Edgar Hoover started the lying and misinformation years ago when the FBI was first put in place, they didn’t have a problem with gathering dirt on citizens to be used against them or omitting facts from the public.
Not much seems to have changed.


It is a federal crime for you to lie to the FBI.

It is not a crime of any sort for the FBI to lie to you.

See the problem?

See one possible solution?


Read yesterday about a poor chap got caught with some MJ in one of the states where it is supposedly “legal”, but it was an EffBeeEye aydjunt pressing the case. Poor guy happened to have a gun in the car when the “deal” went down. Lied to the FBI agent about “no guns in the car”. He got one year for the drug sale, five years for each of the two lies about the gun he told to the FBI goons. Justice? WHen dealing in weed was legal in his state at the time. Never did find out just HOW… Read more »


A nice strong piece of hemp?


Control the narrative. News thrives on tragedy, and really you cannot blame the news. Our society seems to only want to hear about other peoples misery, and who controls the news the government. The government sets forth the news to keep society divided so they can stay in control.


What was once called “yellow journalism” has now been militarized.

Pa John

“Their lips are moving.” – Test result which indicates if executive branch agencies are lying.


Did you REALLY expect them to tell the truth ?!?!?!?


“Come on man”, there is no way for the current POLITICIZED DemoKKKrat communisticly controlled ‘fbi’, ‘doINj’ or the ‘cia’ can UNDER REPORT the TRUE FACTS! (SNARK!!!!!!!!!!!)