FBI Report Shows Armed Citizens Killed More Criminals Than Police

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

A great find from the folks at the Second Amendment Foundation, who note that the latest Uniform Crime Report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows that there were more defensive gun uses involving armed citizens than police officers in 2020.


“We looked at Tables 14 and 15 in the FBI’s new report that apply to justifiable homicides by law enforcement and private citizens, respectively,” noted CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Last year, according to the data, armed citizens killed 343 criminals during the commission of a felony while police fatally shot 298 felons.

 “If the FBI data published in their crime report for 2020 is accurate,” he continued, “it is ample evidence that the individual right to keep and bear arms for personal defense is as important today as it was when the Second Amendment was adopted as a cornerstone of the Bill of Rights.” 

Note, by the way, that these are justifiable homicides that the FBI included in its report. The agency doesn’t keep track of defensive gun uses that don’t result in the death of an assailant, which are far more common. In fact, most defensive gun uses don’t even result in a shot being fired. Still, as Gottlieb says, it’s clear based on these statistics that the right of self-defense is vitally important given that police most often show up after a crime’s been committed.

“The use of deadly force is not something anybody wants,” Gottlieb observed, “but neither is being injured or killed by some thug during a violent criminal attack. Self-defense may be the oldest natural right, and every time we hear some politician, public official or gun control extremist call for citizen disarmament, we have to wonder which side they’re on. It certainly can’t be on the side of public safety.”


They either don’t care about public safety or they naively believe that by restricting the rights of responsible gun owners, it will somehow have an impact on violent actors. Either way, it’s not a good look, particularly when so many of them outsource their own protection to paid professionals while trying to make it impossible for the average citizen who can’t afford a bodyguard to protect themselves.

“Gun prohibitionists who enjoy their own private security while promoting restrictive laws that take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens are world-class hypocrites,” he said. “The same people who want to disarm honest citizens are typically those who support policies that are soft on criminals. They haven’t simply lost perspective; they’ve abandoned common sense.”

I think that’s certainly the case, though the gun control lobby would disagree. After all, they talk all the time about “common sense gun reforms” like, uh, making it a felony to keep possession of the most commonly sold rifle in the country or putting people in prison if they don’t put their neighbor through a background check before loaning them a pistol for a couple of days while their ex is harassing and threatening them.

Gottlieb does make an excellent point about the fact that many of the same people who are calling for more criminal penalties on legal gun owners are also often soft when it comes to consequences for acts of violence. Instead of holding the perpetrators responsible for their own actions, these politicians will either point to root causes like poverty and high rates of unemployment or blame gun makers and sellers for making a legal product that ended up in the hands of a violent criminal. Either way, they don’t seem to think that the criminal himself should be held responsible for their actions.


Clearly millions of Americans disagree. Not only do we believe that there should be legal consequences for violent crime, we also believe that we have the right to protect ourselves from those violent actors. Whether in public or in the privacy of our own home, our right to keep and bear arms serves as a safeguard, not only for our individual freedoms, but for our own lives and the lives of the people we love.

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