Three-letter bureaucracy gets it wrong again.
Everyone makes mistakes. It is an integral part of the human experience. Without errors, we have nothing to learn from and grow. However, repeating the same mistakes repeatedly can indicate gross incompetence or malicious intent. Typically, it is a terrible practice to attribute malice to something easily explained by stupidity. But what about when the perpetrator is the FBI?
The Crime Research and Prevention Center recently published a report excoriating the FBI’s published data on civilian involvement in active shooter incidents (ASI). In a surprise to absolutely no one, the FBI underreported the number of times a civilian actively intervened in ASIs. ASIs are basically defined as public shootings unrelated to drug or gang activity that could have or did become mass shootings. The FBI releases data annually that details civilian involvement in ASIs, and their 2021 report stated that out of 61 ASIs, 4 (or 6.6%) were stopped by armed citizens. Their 2020 and 2019 reports claim that a whopping ZERO were stopped by armed citizens. If this were true, it would almost certainly negate the pro-gun lobby’s claim that armed citizens save lives. But what about if the data is false? Would it bolster the argument made by groups like RMGO? That depends on the degree of their error. A small margin could mean the FBI simply missed some cases, but overall, there is nothing significant to report. A large margin, however, would indicate a concerted effort by the FBI to delegitimize the advocates of the Second Amendment.
The research done by CRPC revealed that not only had the FBI misrepresented the data, but they had also done so dramatically. CRPC used incident reporting through media and police reports to track down a plethora of ASIs left out by the FBI. They revealed that, contrary to the FBI’s reporting, armed citizens play a significant role in ending ASIs. According to CRPC’s updated data, the FBI failed to report 51 ASIs in 2021, bringing the total up to 112. Of those, 55 were stopped by armed citizens. This means that rather than 6.6% being stopped by armed citizens, 49.1% were. The trend of underreporting is a constant: in 2020, it was 37.7%, and in 2019, it was 29.3%. (Note: the downward trend is caused by difficulty obtaining substantive reports as time passes.)
The data becomes even more startling when you exclude gun-free zones. According to CRPC, the percentage rose from 49.1% to 58% in 2021. There were 31 ASIs in gun-free zones, with only eight being stopped by armed citizens, or 25.8%. While they will argue that having fewer shootings in gun-free zones is better, the fact they happen at all means that gun-free zones don’t prevent gun violence. The staggering difference between gun-free and pro-gun areas shows how effective armed citizens are in stopping ASIs on the spot.
When you look at the complete data, it makes sense why the FBI underrepresents the effectiveness of armed citizens in defending themselves. The more armed a populace is, the more resistant it is to government expansion. As they are an arm of the government, the FBI prefers a disarmed, compliant population. There is an added level of plausible deniability to the data as well. The FBI sources their numbers from a department at Texas State University, which opens the doors for corrupt academia to impart ideology on statistics. John Lott has reported the errors in data as recently as 2020. Still, he has been dismissed by gun control advocates as a bad source through fallacious attacks on his character and data collection methods. Of course, this has been unquestionably accepted by the unthinking progressives because his research clearly backs up claims that gun control is harmful.
In the end, the FBI is prone to mistakes. It just so happens that these mistakes consistently go in the direction of the gun control lobby. Is it stupidity or malice? I will let you be the judge of that. All I know is that there is clear data backing up the argument that armed citizens are fully capable of defending themselves and others in times of danger. So, for now, we will continue to fight to the bitter end to protect the right to self-defense codified in the Second Amendment.