In Wake Of Synagogue Shooting, How Effective Are Armed Citizens Anyway

In Wake Of Synagogue Shooting, How Effective Are Armed Citizens Anyway

President Donald Trump stirred up a hornet’s nest when he suggested that the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh would have been well-served with having an armed guard on the premises. The idea of an armed individual on-hand to deal with threats seems to be a complete anathema to the mainstream media. This, despite the atrocity taking place less than a year after Sutherland Springs.


Those of us on the pro-gun side of the aisle tend to argue that armed citizens are the most effective bulwark against this kind of attack. After all, despite what looks like a quick response by the Pittsburgh Police Department, the killer was able to murder 11 people inside the synagogue.

But what if there had been someone inside the building with a gun?

Well, based on a study released last month, armed citizens are pretty damn effective at shutting down bad people trying to do bad things.

We decided to take a look at one specific metric that John Lott and the FBI didn’t really consider. The success rate of armed citizens. John Lott’s team did talk about the overall success rate of armed citizens against all Active Shooter incidents in the US but they failed to consider the most important variable. OPPORTUNITY.

If we were to look at 100 active shooter events and an armed citizen was present at 1 of them and succeeded at stopping the active shooter then certainly we can say that armed citizens stop active shooters 1% of the time but in doing so we imply that armed citizens failed to stop 99% of active shooters.

This is an inaccurate implication since no armed citizen was available to stop the active shooter in the other 99 incidents. More helpful when considering the effectiveness of armed citizens in stopping active shooters would be to accurately state that Armed Citizens stopped 100% of active shooters at incidents at which an armed citizen was available to do so.

So the below graphic does just that. Of all the active shooter events there were 33 at which an armed citizen was present. Of those, Armed Citizens were successful at stopping the Active shooter 75.8% of the time (25 incidents) and were successful in reducing the loss of life in an additional 18.2% (6) of incidents. In only 2 of the 33 incidents (6.1%) was the Armed Citizen(s) not helpful in any way in stopping the active shooter or reducing the loss of life.

Thus the headline of our report that Armed Citizens Are Successful 94% Of The Time At Active Shooter Events.


The truth is, when someone has a gun at one of these things, the death toll is far, far lower.

“Oh, but this guy shot four police officers,” someone will likely rebut, and they’re not wrong. He did.

Why was he able to do that? There are a number of factors that play into it, but part of it is also that the bad guy gets to take the initiative in things like this. He gets to decide how and when he’s going to respond while the police have to wait to see what he’ll do to some degree. They had no choice but to respond in certain ways, and unfortunately, he took advantage of that.

But with an armed citizen on hand, he has a certain element of surprise.

This jackwagon planned to kill every Jew he could find, but it’s unlikely that he planned for the possibility of armed resistance. Even if he did, the didn’t know who or where it would come from, and that could have made the difference and given an armed citizen the edge.

So remember that when someone is telling you that having a gun won’t do any good in an active shooter situation. Remember it and then understand that you’re talking with someone who doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

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