CPRC Says FBI Ignores “Good Guys With Guns” in Recent Data
Eve Flanigan 11.18.20
Crime Prevention Research Center (CRPC) just released a bombshell report that reveals important omissions by the FBI in reporting the effect of armed civilians in mass shooting events. The omission of these incidents from FBI reporting is significant, both from a numeric perspective as well as being a lens through which to view the role of concealed carry in public safety.
Reality Versus FBI Statistics on Armed Civilians and Mass Shootings
According to CPRC, in the years 2018-2019, the FBI reported 55 crimes that meet the agency’s definition of a mass shooting. However, CRPC notes that seven more exist, and in six of those seven, a legally-armed citizen ended the attack.
The inclusion of six more crime-stopping, lawful gun uses in these figures makes for a remarkable increase in the apparent effectiveness of armed citizens to stop mass murder. The FBI number for the selected period is 6.2%. However, when the additional seven cases are added to the total, six representing armed defense by an innocent party, the percentage of attacks thwarted increases to 14.52%.
In an uncharacteristic slip, CRPC’s report refers to the citizens as being licensed handgun carriers using a handgun, but at least one rifle was used to quell a rampage. The FBI report makes no overt distinction regarding civilians’ concealed carry licensure status or type of firearm used.
Real World, Real Stories
The incidents “missed” by the FBI have received wide recognition in media and have been celebrated by area law enforcement and at least one state governor as examples of heroism. Here are a couple examples.
In August 2019, at Fat Boys Bar & Grill in Norman, Georgia, a rowdy patron caused enough trouble to cause himself to get tossed out of the bar (literally at one point) multiple times in a single night. An off-duty employee of the bar, Ben McCoy, heard gunshots from the parking lot as the angry customer returned, seeking revenge. McCoy retrieved a rifle from his own parked vehicle, drawing the would-be killer’s attention away from the crowd inside.
The disgruntled customer used a handgun to shoot McCoy “four to six times” and kept shooting even after McCoy fell. The attacker ultimately stole McCoy’s rifle and fled. He was later arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Local deputies recognized McCoy as a hero for having stopped a planned attack on those inside the bar.
Another incident is well-known, at least in the concealed-carry community and in the State of Texas. Just after Christmas 2019, a local male, known to the church but not a member, entered the West Freeway Church of Christ during the Sunday sermon, wearing a disguise. The male eventually stood, produced a shotgun, and began firing. Two congregants were killed, the second being a member of the church’s volunteer security team whom the murderer noticed was struggling to retrieve a handgun from under his shirt.
The killer’s rampage ended when Jack Wilson, a local firearms instructor and lead member of the security team, placed a precise shot into the temple of the disguised man from a distance of about 12 yards.
Not only did the FBI not mention this incident in their annual report of murderous rampages ended by civilians, they identified both victims as members of the security team and labeled them as law enforcement/security professionals even though one had no association with the team and was unarmed. This volunteer team was not formally recognized by any authority outside of their own church.
The exclusion of numerous examples of effective action by armed citizens has the appearance of intent. This is especially true when including examples since 2014, which drives the percentage of thwarted attacks up slightly, to 15.4%.
I’m a concealed carry instructor and data nerd, and this is far from the first example of suppressed gun and personal defense-related research I’ve stumbled upon. It’s not unique to the FBI, and similar instances have occurred during previous presidential administrations. I believe it’s important to get facts, not an agenda, out in the open so people can form their own opinions. But laboring under conflicting agendas is simply a fact of life.
If there is any take-home lesson after exploring the backgrounds of just some of the six suppressed stories, it’s that willingness and being armed is one thing; training is another. A lack of competent gun-handling skills and rudimentary understanding of tactics is evident in some of the stories. Deaths and disabilities may have been prevented had the respondents been better prepared with their gear and skills. Since those people are, in many ways, just like you and me, it’s a lesson we should all take to heart.