The detailed 18-page report released by the FBI regarding all active shooter incidents in 2016 and 2017 revealed what gun-rights advocates had been preaching for years – a good guy with a gun can and will stop mass shootings. This report, along with other anecdotal examples of the rarely occurring tragedies, goes to show armed and heroic civilians at the scene have a far faster reaction time than police.
Two prime examples that we all know include the Poway Synagogue Massacre, where an unarmed combat veteran chased the monster out of the house of worship where he was assisted by an off duty Border Patrol agent, and the Sutherland Springs Church Shooting, where a man armed with an AR15 exchanged fire with the gunman after he left the church. If he or another citizen were inside and armed, maybe the death toll would have been lower.
The report indicates that there were 50 documented cases of ‘active shooters,’ which they define as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” This omits the causality requirement of 4 or more being killed, a definition typically used by the FBI. Between 2016 and 2017, 221 people were killed with 722 people being wounded in active shooter scenarios; a sharp increase from the year prior where only 92 people were killed with 139 being wounded. This is likely because the two most gruesome mass shootings in our nations history, Vegas and the Pulse shooting, occurred during this time frame.
In the 50 cases, 13 suspects committed suicide, 11 were killed by police, and 18 were arrested alive. Interestingly enough, 8 were stopped by civilians, meaning people on the scene saved the day in 16% of cases. When you ignore the times where the shooter takes himself out, that number jumps to almost 22%.
“In 10 incidents, citizens confronted the shooter. In eight of those incidents, one or more citizens safely and successfully acted to end the shooting.“FBI Active Shooter Report
Out of the 10 cases where a civilian intervened and attempted to stop the shooter, they succeeded in 8 cases, or 80% of the time. Oddly enough, only 4 of the 8 heroes were actually armed. Both failed attempts involve individuals who were armed. One was wounded by the shooter, and the other caused the shooter to flee, but said shooter picked up his rampage at another location.
Civilian succeed at a higher rate than police, who only stopped active shooters in 29 out of 50 cases, or 58% of the time. When seconds count, and bullets are flying, it makes sense that a person on site would be able to stop an attack far quicker than someone miles away. Whether that person is an officer, a conceal carry permit holder, or just a brave civilian, people on scene have shown to be more effective.
The report ends by saying “[armed and unarmed civilian’s] selfless actions likely saved many lives,” and the increased threat “support[s] the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”
Categories: U.S. News