The FBI’s recently released “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017” report [PDF] indicates 10 percent of crimes that qualify for inclusion in the paper were stopped by a law-abiding citizen with a gun. The figure represents more than a three-fold increase from the agency’s 2000-2013 study [PDF], when the figure was 3.1 percent.
The 2014 and 2015 report, the first biennial study on the topic released by the agency, adds statistical weight to the long-term trend. During those years, 5 percent of the attacks were stopped by armed citizens. It states, “In 2 separate incidents, a citizen with a valid firearms permit exchanged gunfire with the shooter before the shooters were restrained and taken into custody by law enforcement.” In only one of those incidents during 2014 and 2015 was an armed citizen shot and killed during an active-shooter scenario, the report stating that the “…citizen with a valid firearms permit pursued shooters inside a store, but was shot and killed before he fired his weapon.”
The latest study states, “In four incidents citizens possessing valid firearms permits stopped the shooter.” In two of the cases no shots were taken by the armed citizen and the perpetrator was held until law enforcement’s arrival. In the other two cited by the report, one perpetrator fled immediately after shots were exchanged with the good Samaritan, and another concealed-carry holder was wounded before discharging his firearm at the criminal.
The latest FBI study concludes, “Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. [Editor’s Note: In only four cases was the citizen unarmed.] They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives. The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement and citizens alike.”
Editors Note: The original version of this story incorrectly reported the rate of law-abiding citizens stopping a crime at 16 percent. The actual number reported by the FBI is 10 percent. We regret the error.