Active shooter incidents are defined as any incident involving one or more individuals who are actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill those within a populated area — gang or drug-related shootings notwithstanding.
There were 50 active shooter incidents in 2016 and 2017 combined, leaving many to question if America is, in fact, safer when armed.
However, a recent investigation by the FBI in April showed that, in numerous incidents involving active shooters, there were people who stopped them by use of a weapon.
“Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents,” read the report. “Their selfless actions likely saved many lives.
“The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”
Ten active shooters had been confronted by citizens, and eight of them ended successfully, according to The Daily Caller. Four of those eight shooters were stopped by a lawfully armed citizen.
“In one incident, a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit exchanged gunfire with the shooter, causing the shooter to flee to another scene and continue shooting,” the report read.
Yet, in the wake of so many gun shootings and violence, the call for disarming American citizens remains.
According to Timothy Hsiao for The Federalist, it is not a matter of if guns increase violence, but if they are a good means of self-defense.
“What matters is not the risk (or lack thereof) that guns pose to society, but simply whether guns are a reasonable means of self-defense,” wrote Hsiao, adding that to defend one’s life is a basic dignity that cannot be taken away in the name of “social utility.”
“Rights function as moral ‘trump cards’ that override appeals to utility,” he said. “Like our right to life, our right to defend ourselves is a basic dignity that can’t be defeated just because it might produce a net benefit.”
In nearly all national survey estimates, the result saw that defensive gun uses by victims were nearly as common as offensive uses by criminals.
Though millions of Americans are legally permitted to carry firearms every day, most of them cite self-defense as the first and foremost reason to do so.
“The overwhelming majority of the time, those guns are never drawn in anger,” wrote Paul Hsieh for Forbes. “But innocent civilians can and do sometimes use their guns in self-defense.”
Any conversation, Hsieh added, that centers around firearm policy needs to acknowledge those that are saved by the legal use of guns and self-defense, such as those in the active shooter incidents.
“The value of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens should be measured in terms of lives saved or crimes prevented,” he said, “Not criminals killed.”