The FBI has released data on active shooters that in-part led to the Air Force’s recent decision to allow servicemembers to carry weapons. Of the findings in the report, strong evidence exists that a high percentage of the active shooter situations were ended by citizens who engaged the shooter. Over 40% of the shootings that occurred from 2000-2013 were ended by someone other than law enforcement getting involved, or by the shooter committing suicide.

  • In 37 incidents (23.1%), the shooter committed suicide at the scene before police arrived.
  • In 21 incidents (13.1%), the situation ended after unarmed citizens safely and successfully restrained the shooter. In 2 of those incidents,
  • 3 off-duty law enforcement officers were present and assisted.
  • Of note, 11 of the incidents involved unarmed principals, teachers, other school staff and students who confronted shooters to end the threat (9 of those shooters were students).
  • In 5 incidents (3.1%), the shooting ended after armed individuals who were not law enforcement personnel exchanged gunfire with the shooters. In these incidents, 3 shooters were killed, 1 was wounded, and 1 committed suicide.
  • The individuals involved in these shootings included a citizen with a valid firearms permit and armed security guards at a church, an airline counter, a federally managed museum, and a school board meeting.
  • In 2 incidents (1.3%), 2 armed, off-duty police officers engaged the shooters, resulting in the death of the shooters. In 1 of those incidents, the off-duty officer assisted a responding officer to end the threat.

One of the many things to take away from the report is that ordinary citizens will almost always be among the first called on to end an active shooter scenario. With many events taking place in a matter of seconds or minutes, it is virtually impossible to rely on law enforcement to always be available when needed. Citizens should make themselves aware of just what to do in those types of situations in order to increase their chances of surviving, and also of ending the threat.