It’s a testimonial as to why “gun control” should mean hitting your target. While a study shows that 98 percent of mass shootings occur in “gun free” zones, a more recent study indicates how these events can be thwarted: by armed citizens. In fact, it finds that when such Americans are present, they have a 94-percent success rate at stopping or impeding active shooters.

As the National Sentinel reports, referencing the FBI:

A report by Jacob Paulsen at found that in 94 percent of cases, armed citizens successfully intervene during what the bureau calls “active shooter events,” which is defined by the FBI as, “One or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

Paulsen notes that the FBI has published three reports that detail active shooter events between 2000 and 2017. The first covers event between 2000-2013; the second from 2014-2015; and the third from 2016-2017.

… He notes … that the FBI does not include domestic shooting incidents or gang-related shootings in its reports.

Also, “For the FBI to define an incident as an Active Shooter incident both law enforcement personnel and citizens have to have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses to the situation,” he writes.

It turns out that 283 events qualify as Active Shooter incidents, and Paulsen and his colleagues found that of them, an armed citizen was present 11.7 percent of the time (in 33 cases).


Moreover, the Sentinel also informed, “A further examination of those 33 cases found ‘armed citizens were successful at stopping the active shooter 75.8 percent of the time (25 incidents) and were successful in reducing the loss of life in an additional 18.2 percent (6) of incidents.’ Translated, ‘armed citizens are successful 94 percent of the time at active shooter events,’ he concluded.”

(The original report, which includes many interesting charts, is found here.)

While counterintuitive to some, this study is not surprising. It has long been shown that there simply is no correlation between stricter gun-control laws and lower murder rates; in fact, as president of the Crime Prevention Research Center John R. Lott, Jr. has put it, it appears that more guns equals less crime. Just consider the following little-known facts:

• While often portrayed as a Wild West of murder and mayhem, the United States ranks only 83rd among the world’s nations in intentional homicide rate, according to Index Mundi.

• Countries such as Russia, Mexico, and Brazil have far stricter gun laws than the United States, but also more homicide. Furthermore, as Professor Thomas Sowell wrote in 2012, “Gun ownership has been three times as high in Switzerland as in Germany, but the Swiss have had lower murder rates. Other countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates include Israel, New Zealand, and Finland.”

• Great Britain has a lower homicide rate than does the United States. But the U.K. has always had a lower homicide rate — even back when both nations had few gun-control laws — and the U.K.’s gun-crime rate is higher now than it was then. Moreover, states such as New Hampshire have lower murder rates than does Britain despite having far higher gun-ownership rates. Also note that London made news this year by surpassing New York City in homicides for the first time in two centuries.

• Vermont has approximately the same gun-ownership rate as Louisiana but one-eighth the murder rate.

• Despite Japan’s very strict gun-control laws, Japanese-descent Americans living in the United States — with relatively easy access to firearms — have a murder rate half that of Japanese living in Japan.

• As Dr. Sowell also informed, the rate of gun ownership “is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks. For the country as a whole, handgun ownership doubled in the late 20th century, while the murder rate went down.

• People over 50 are more likely to own guns than those under 50, but the latter have a higher murder rate.

The explanation? Demographics. As Sowell puts it, it’s not the guns that explain the different murder rates. It’s the people.

As for other myths, it’s often heard that guns are more likely to be used against their owners than anyone else, but this is deceptive because it includes suicides in the statistics. In fact, suicide accounts for most U.S. guns deaths, with 22,938 gun suicides in 2016 versus 14,415 gun homicides. 

Note also that while tragic shootings grab headlines, a study by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, a liberal Democrat and lifelong ACLU member, found that guns are used by good citizens 2.2 to 2.5 million times per year to deter crime. Yet this goes largely unnoticed not only because the media are reluctant to portray firearm use positively, but because such defensive use often involves merely brandishing a gun — and no blood means no story.

As for gun-free zones versus gun-carrying citizens, even those supporting the former publicly apparently know better privately. Just consider