As the nation mourns the latest tragedy in “gun free zone” Chicago, a recent report compiled by Jacob Paulsen at ConcealedCarry.com shows that armed citizens facing possible mass shooters are able to stop the potential massacre 94% of the time. Paulsen’s study is inspired by John Lott’s consistent analysis of crime and gun laws.
While sourcing data from the FBI and giving a prefrace, Paulsen reports on ConcealedCarry.com:
We thought it would be interesting to see if the overall percentage of events at which an armed citizen was present was increasing given the rise in concealed carry permit holders and gun owners nationwide. The data set is low enough that it is hard to draw any strong conclusions when you are looking at 33 incidents out of 283 over an 18 year period.
It is worth noting that there may be more than 33 incidents in which an armed citizen was present given that we have no way of knowing if an armed citizen chose NOT to engage and run the other way. That may not even be known to law enforcement. Our objective here is to look at incidents in which an armed citizen was clearly present and to some degree engaged the active shooter.
Looking at the 283 total Active Shooter events in our data pool, an Armed Citizen was Present and Engaged the Active Shooter in 33 total incidents (11.7%). This is all inclusive regardless of who the armed citizen was or their direct potential for stopping the shooter.
Of all the active shooter events there were 33 at which an armed citizen was present. Of those, Armed Citizens were successful at stopping the Active shooter 75.8% of the time (25 incidents) and were successful in reducing the loss of life in an additional 18.2% (6) of incidents. In only 2 of the 33 incidents (6.1%) was the Armed Citizen(s) not helpful in any way in stopping the active shooter or reducing the loss of life.
Since gun laws vary from state to state a common part of the political discussion is the effectiveness of state laws in stopping or slowing the instances of Active Shooter events. I don’t think it particularly wise to draw conclusions from the below chart for a few reasons.
First, the data pool isn’t big enough. 283 total events equate to about 5 1/2 per state on average … over an 18 year period. For example, North Dakota had 1 incident with a population of fewer than 1 million people. Its possible another 10 years could go by without any more incidents so calling it a high probability Active Shooter State is logically unsound.
Not only do armed citizens have a high success rate at stopping would-be mass shooters, but perhaps the most important statistic out of this data set is 0. That’s the number of innocents who were accidentally shot by the good guy. Zero.