'You've been lied to by the feds': FBI and CDC "bury" data on defensive uses of guns in active shootings

WASHINGTON, DC - One of the things gun rights advocates hang their hats on is the fact that “a good guy with a gun” is best equipped to stop a bad guy with a gun.

While anti-gunners attempt to downplay defensive uses of firearms, organizations such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) have consistently shown that an average of hundreds of thousands of incidents of lawful gun owners using their God-given rights to stop crime. Both organizations relied on government crime data for justification.

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen over the past few years, political correctness has inserted itself into the data provided by federal agencies such as the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Daily Signal reports.

In 2022, the CDC was slammed after it removed its estimates of defensive gun uses from its website. This wasn’t done on its own volition—it was removed at the request of gun control zealots.

Until last year, the CDC relied on a 2013 National Academy of Sciences report, which estimated people used guns to stop criminals between 64,000 to 3 million times per year, with the upper figure estimated by the CDC at about 2.5 million.

The decision to remove the data came after the head of the Gun Violence Archive, Mark Bryant, wrote the CDC after a meeting last year and complained that the 2.5 million number cited by the CDC “has been used so often to stop [gun control] legislation.” The CDC promptly removed the estimates, and now, no numbers are listed.

According to John Lott Jr., writing in The Daily Signal, the FBI also bows to political pressure.

“Up until January 2021," he said, "I worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as the senior adviser for research and statistics, and part of my job was to evaluate the FBI’s active-shooting reports. I showed the bureau that many cases were missing and others had been misidentified. Yet, the FBI continues to report that armed citizens stopped only 14 of the 302 active-shooter incidents identified for 2014-2022.”

However, Lott insists the actual rate is about eight times higher. Moreover, he said that where the location is limited to places where permit holders are allowed to carry firearms, the rate is eleven times higher.

How does the FBI define an active shooter incident? It is when someone actively kills or attempts to kill people in a populated, public area. However, the FBI does not include incidents where the shootings are related to other criminal activity, such as robberies or those involving gangs fighting over turf.

Further, active shooters include incidents where only one shot is fired, even if the target isn’t hit.

Since most police departments don’t compile data on such incidents, the FBI hired academics (what could go wrong) at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University. They collected data by poring through news stories about these incidents.

As might be expected, those reviewing news stories may miss cases or misidentify them. However, Lott said the FBI refused to fix errors when he pointed them out. The Crime Prevention Research Center, run by Lott, has identified numerous cases that were missed by the FBI and has an updated list. In 2015, the organization published a list of missed cases.

The complicit news media is more than willing to carry the water for the anti-gun crowd.

One example involved a case where a 22-year-old, Elisjsha Dicken, used his legally owned and carried firearm to stop a mass shooting. In reporting the story, the Associated Press (AP) claimed: “Rare in US for an active shooter to be stopped by a bystander.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post wrote: “Rampage in Indiana a rare instance of armed civilian ending mass shooting.”

Lott’s organization tells a different story. According to the CPRC, in the 440 active shooter incidents between 2014 and 2022, 157, or 35 percent, were stopped by an armed citizen. Moreover, the FBI misidentified five cases, incorrectly writing that a security guard was the hero who stopped the attack.

Lott also noted that his organization found the bad cases “on a budget of just a few thousand dollars.” He also stated that despite his organization finding the FBI erred on multiples of eight on defensive uses of firearms by citizens, he doesn’t believe they uncovered all such incidents.

He also noted that the news media possibly never even covers such incidents, attempting to give cover to those hiding accurate statistics.

There was a significant disparity between FBI statistics on active shootings stopped by gun-toting citizens and those uncovered by the CPRC. While the FBI put the number at only 4.6% of active shootings being stopped, Lott’s organization found the number to be seven times higher or 35.7%. For 2022, that number was 41.3%.

Tellingly, the FBI also doesn’t differentiate between cases where guns are banned and legal carry is allowed. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude the number would be much lower where law-abiding, concealed carry holders are prohibited from carrying guns.

The statistics are telling. In jurisdictions where law-abiding citizens are allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights, the percentage of active shootings topped 50%. In 2022, the rate was 63.5%.

In fact, in keeping with the FBI’s definition of an active shooter, Lott’s organization excluded 27 cases where the legal carry individual stopped the bad guy before he got off a shot.

One incident the FBI misreported occurred in 2015 when an official with the FBI admitted that “the FBI did not come across this incident during its research in 2015, but it does meet the FBI’s active shooter definition.”

The official also admitted they will miss some active shooter cases because the reports “are limited in scope.” Despite the admission, the FBI never added the incident, Lott said.

Lott also said there exists a double standard where reporting is concerned. When his organization reached out to Texas State University, they responded to two of the cases identified by his group.

A researcher said one of the cases involved a shooting at a dentist’s office, which was excluded because it involved a domestic dispute. The other was at a strip bar and was not reported because it was a “retaliation murder.”

However, the CPRC noted at least 14 examples where the FBI’s list included shootings involving domestic disputes, while three others occurred where someone was refused admittance to a lounge or bar. Lott said, “Domestic disputes and ‘retaliation murders’ are only included when they don’t involve permit holders stopping the attacks.”

One cannot help but think the omissions from FBI data are intentional, designed to downplay defensive uses of firearms in active shootings, which Lott believes. While mistakes can happen, the refusal of the FBI to correct past errors “shows a troubling disregard for the truth,” Lott wrote.
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