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Gun rights group argues FBI undercounting armed citizens who stop mass shootings

A gun at an Illinois gun shop (WICS)
A gun at an Illinois gun shop (WICS)
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A research-focused nonprofit, the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), claims it conducted an analysis that found the FBI has been undercounting the number of legally armed citizens who courageously thwart mass shooting attempts across the country.

According to the nonprofit's analysis, the FBI reported that armed citizens only stopped 11 out of a total 252 active shooting incidents identified across a period of seven years, starting in 2014. However, the CPRC identified a total of 360 active shooter incidents during that same time period, tallying 124 that were stopped by armed citizens.

CPRC claims the FBI undercounts the overall incidents of mass shootings because it excludes active shooter incidents that occur in the process of another crime, such as a robbery or fighting over turf.

The group added that there were an additional 24 cases where an armed citizen thwarted what they say could have been counted as mass shooting attempts, but the suspect did not fire their gun, so CPRC did not include those numbers.

"The FBI reported that armed citizens thwarted 4.4% of active shooter incidents, while the CPRC found 34.4%," the group claimed in a report on their analysis.

"Two factors explain this discrepancy – one, misclassified shootings; and two, overlooked incidents," the report continued. "As for the second factor — overlooked cases — the FBI, more significantly, missed 25 incidents identified by CPRC where what would likely have been a mass public shooting was thwarted by armed civilians. There were another 83 active shooting incidents that they missed."

Critics have argued CPRC is an unreliable advocacy group that parades as a nonpartisan research group and "misrepresents data."

The group is headed by John Lott, a former advisor for research and statistics for the U.S. Department of Justice, according to his LinkedIn page. Lott has also authored numerous books, including one titled "Gun Control Myths: How politicians, the media, and botched "studies" have twisted the facts on gun control," and another titled "The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies."

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CPRC states on the front page of its website that the group is "dedicated to conducting academic quality research on the relationship between laws regulating the ownership or use of guns, crime, and public safety."

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