Surprise, surprise... It turns out that a 'good guy with a gun' stopped a 'bad guy with a gun' far more than the FBI admits.
According to a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), the FBI's official data contains "massive errors" when it comes to tracking active shooting incidents - and the agency has undercounted how often armed citizens have thwarted active shootings over the past eight years, Fox News reports.
The FBI defines an active shooter as "one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area," but does not include crimes related to criminal activities such as robberies or gang shootouts. At the center of the discrepancy are two variables - misclassified shootings and overlooked incidents.
"Although collecting such data is fraught with challenges, some see a pattern of distortion in the FBI numbers because the errors almost exclusively go one way, minimizing the life-saving actions of armed citizens," reads the report, which was provided to Fox by author and CPRC founder John Lott.
Data released by the nonprofit shows that 34.4% of active shootings were thwarted by armed citizens between 2014 and 2021. However, FBI data show only 4.4% of active shootings were thwarted by armed citizens during that time period.
All in, 360 active shooter incidents were identified by CPRC between 2014 and 2021, with 124 stopped by armed citizens. The FBI identified 252 active shooter incidents during the same time period, with only 11 thwarted by armed citizens. -Fox News
"Whether deliberately through bias or just incompetence, the FBI database of active shooters cannot be trusted," said Gary Mauser, an emeritus professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada, in the report.
According to the research, the FBI misclassified at least five cases where citizens thwarted the incident, but the FBI didn't list it in the report because the suspects were ultimately apprehended by the police. In two cases, citizens with valid firearms licenses thwarted shootings. In three other misidentified cases, "the FBI simply failed to mention citizen engagement at all."
25 likely mass shootings were not included according to the report - which is in addition to another 83 active shooting incidents excluded from the FBI's figures. There were several instances of armed individuals thwarting potential mass shootings just this year - including a notable case in Indiana, where 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken took out an active shooter at a mall, undoubtedly preventing more deaths.
In response to the report, the FBI directed Fox to page 2 of their 2021 active shooting report, which didn't clear anything up.
"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. 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 the document, every effort is made to factor those incidents into future reporting," states the FBI report.
The CPRC report even differentiated how often armed citizens thwarted potential mass shootings - or mass shootings in areas where guns are allowed, vs. in gun-free zones.
"When I was at the Department of Justice, they just refused to go and look at this. And that is whether the active shooting event occurred in a place where guns are banned. And the reason why that's important is that if you have a place where guns are banned, it's very likely that the law-abiding civilian is going to obey the rules that are there, and you can't expect them to stop these types of attacks," Lott told Fox News Digital.