Auditing Shooting Rampage Statistics

July 31st, 2012   Submitted by Davi Barker

Firearm prohibitionists love to use tragedy to leverage their agenda. So, it’s important for gun rights advocates to stand their ground and fire back (proverbially) whenever this happens.

I posted a graphic on Facebook claiming the average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 18.25, and the average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by civilians is 2.2. I based it on 10 shootings I found listed on some timeline somewhere. I honestly don’t even remember where. I presented the case studies in a blog post on the Silver Circle blog and I did the math myself.

The graphic was met with great enthusiasm and much skepticism. Leave it to Facebook users to demand an audit on a meme. So, I started over, only much more meticulous this time. I compiled and analyzed 100 shootings, noting my methodology, and I am now prepared to present my findings, complete with links to the data. But here’s a spoiler… It’s not that different.

The average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.29

The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.33

I was so close! Here’s what I think accounts for the difference. In the first sample there was likely a selection error based on what grabs headlines. Larger shootings get more press, so if you take a small sampling you’re going to be working with a data set of the worst shootings. As for the consistency of the civilian statistic, it makes perfect sense if you think about from inside the mind of a heroic civilian with a concealed carry permit. It goes something like this:

“Holy crap! that guy shot that other guy.”
“He’s just going to keep shooting people.”

And the shooter goes down.

Quite a few cases went something like that. In fact, I found only one example of a shooter stopped by civilians who killed more than three people. Jared Loughner killed 6 people in Tucson, Arizona before he was tackled by two civilians. An astute reader informed me that at least one of the civilians that helped stop Jared Loughner was carrying a concealed weapon, but he did not use his gun out of concern for innocent bystanders.

I want to be perfectly clear. I am not much of a firearms enthusiast. I don’t own a firearm. I’ve only ever been shooting twice. For me it’s not an issue of gun rights. It’s about property rights. A person has a natural right to own a hunk of iron in any damn shape they want, and they shouldn’t be criminalized until they use that hunk of iron to harm someone. People can argue crime statistics ’till they’re blue in face. I frankly don’t care about people’s ideas for managing society.

What I am is a math enthusiast. So, without further delay, here’s how I arrived at these numbers.

Step One: Amassing a data set

I searched for timelines of shootings and selected 5 that appeared the most comprehensive.

  1. Info Please
  2. CNN
  3. Denver Post
  4. News Max
  5. TruTV

While doing this I learned some important vocabulary. A “spree shooting” is when a killer murders in multiple locations with no break between murders. As in the Virginia Tech killer who began shooting in one hall, and then walked across campus and continued shooting in another hall. A “mass shooting” is when a killer murders multiple people, usually in a single location. As in the Fort Hood shooter who killed 13 people at one military base. A “school shooting” can be either of these as long as one or more locations is a school. As in the Columbine shooting, which is also classified as a spree shooting because they went from room to room. The term “rampage shooting” is used to describe all of these, and does not differentiate between them. So that is the term I’ll be using from here on out.

As many have pointed out, none of the weapons involved are “automatic weaponry” or “assault rifles” but they are often misreported as such by media outlets that lack knowledge of firearms.

I selected these lists because they were the most comprehensive of those that I found, and I was seeking as large a data set as possible. I combined them all, including the first 10 from my previous post, and removed all redundant data for a total list of 100 shootings.

Step Two: Trimming irrelevant data.

While the list was comprehensive, the details about each shooting were not. In each shooting I had a date and a location, but often important details, like the number of people killed, or how the shooter was apprehended were missing. So, I set to the long task researching each incident to fill in the missing data. I didn’t incorporate the number of wounded people because so many were not reported. But the reason they call a single death a shooting rampage is because there were many injuries. All relevant data is contained in the links in the finished list below or in the timelines linked above. Most of the data came from either Wikipedia, a mainstream news article about the incident, or a handy resource I discovered called Murderpedia.

Next I removed incidents that did not fit within the scope of this analysis. Even though every incident on the list was a shooting, not every incident was a rampage shooting. So, I selected for incidents that included at least some indiscriminate targeting of bystanders. I removed incidents like Dedric Darnell Owens who shot and killed his classmate Kayla Rolland and then threw his handgun in a wastebasket (*meaning I removed incidents where the shooter killed all he was going to kill and stopped, because neither police or civilians actually reduced the deaths at the scene.) And I removed incidents like Michele Kristen Anderson who killed her entire family at a Christmas Party. So what remained were specifically rampage shootings in which a killer went someplace public and began firing at random people.

Suicide presented a tricky variable in the analysis. Roughly half of the remaining rampage shooters ended their own lives. So, I removed all incidents where the shooter killed themselves before police arrived reasoning that they had killed all they were going to kill and police had no impact in stopping them. Theoretically these incidents could have been stopped sooner by a civilian, but let’s not speculate. What I left in were incidents where shooters commit suicide after engaging the police, either during a shootout with police, or after a chase. I included, for example, Jiverly Wong, who witnesses say stopped shooting and killed himself as soon as he heard sirens but before police arrived, crediting the police’s response time with stopping the murders. But I did not include the shooters themselves in the total number of people killed.

I also removed cases like Edward Charles Allaway who shot up a library, then fled to a nearby hotel and called police to turn himself in, and cases like Darrell Ingram who shot up a high school dance and fled the scene only to be apprehended later after a long investigation. I was only looking for incidents when intervention from police or civilian saved lives.

What remained was 32 cases of gunmen firing indiscriminately whose rampage was cut short through the intervention of either a civilian or a police officer.

Step Three: The List

I divided the remaining cases into two categories, those stopped by police and those stopped by civilians. I included both armed and unarmed civilians for reasons that will become clear in the final analysis. I also removed cases like Dominick Maldonado and Charles Joseph Whitman. Moldonado went on a shooting rampage in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington, and ultimately surrendered to police but was confronted by two legally armed civilians who interrupted his shooting. They did not fire for fear of hitting innocent bystanders. Whitman climbed a tower at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas and began shooting at other students and faculty with a sniper rifle. The police who stopped Charles Whitman were assisted by a civilian with a more powerful rifle. I’m calling incidents like this an assist from civilians and removing them from the analysis as anomalies.

  • 9/6/1949 – Howard Barton Unruh went on a shooting rampage in Camden, New Jersey with a German Luger. He shot up a barber shop, a pharmacy and a tailor’s shop killing 13 people. He finally surrendered after a shoot-out with police.
  • 7/18/1984 – James Oliver Huberty shot up a McDonalds in San Ysidro, California killing 21 people before police shot and killed him.
  • 10/16/1991 – George Hennard entered Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas and began indiscriminately shooting the patrons. He killed 23 people in all. He committed suicide after being cornered and wounded in a shootout with police.
  • 12/7/1993 – Colin Ferguson brought a handgun into a Long Island Rail Road car and opened fire at random. He killed six people before passengers Michael O’Connor, Kevin Blum and Mark McEntee tackled him while reloading.
  • 11/15/1995 – Jamie Rouse used a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle to fire indiscriminately inside Richland High School in Lynnville, Tennessee. He killed two people before being tackled by a football player and a coach.
  • 2/2/1996 – Barry Loukaitis entered Frontier Middle School in Moses Lake, Washington with a rifle and two handguns. He killed three people before the Gym teacher, Jon Lane grabbed the rifle and wrestled the gunman to the ground.
  • 10/1/1997 – Luke Woodham put on a trench coat to conceal a hunting rifle and entered Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. He killed three students before vice principal Joel Myrick apprehended him with a Colt .45 without firing.
  • 12/1/1997 – Michael Carneal brought a pistol, two rifles and two shotguns to his high school in Paducah, Kentucky and opened fire on a small prayer group killing three girls. His rampage was halted when he was tackled by another student.
  • 4/24/1998 – Andrew Wurst attended a middle school dance in Edinboro, Pennsylvania intent on killing a bully but shot wildly into the crowd. He killed one student. James Strand lived next door. When he heard the shots he ran over with his 12 gauge shotgun and apprehended the gunman without firing.
  • 5/21/1998 – Kipland Kinkel entered Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon with two pistols and a semi-automatic rifle hidden under a trench coat. He opened fire killing two students, but while reloading a wounded student named Jacob Ryker tackled him.
  • 4/20/1999 – Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were the killers behind the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado. The two both commit suicide after police arrived, but what many people do not know is that the school’s armed security guard and the police all stood and waited outside the library while executions happed right inside. Fifteen people died, not including the shooters.
  • 7/31/1999 – Mark Barton was a day trader who went on a shooting rampage through two day trading firms in Atlanta, Georgia. He killed 12 people in all and after a police chase he was surrounded by police at a gas station where he commit suicide.
  • 1/16/2002 – Peter Odighizuwa opened fire with a handgun at The Appalachian School in Grundy, Virginia. Three people were killed before the shooter was apprehended by three students, Mikael Gross, Ted Besen, and Tracy Bridges with handguns without firing.
  • 8/27/2003 – Salvador Tapia entered an auto parts store in Chicago, Illinois and shot and killed six people with a handgun. He then waged a gunbattle with police before a SWAT team fatally wounded him.
  • 9/24/2003 – John Jason McLaughlin brought a .22-caliber pistol to Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota. He killed two people before PE teacher Mark Johnson confronted him, disarmed him, and held him in the school office for police to arrive.
  • 2/25/2005 – David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. opened fire on a public square from the steps of a courthouse in Tyler, Texas. The shooter was armed with a rifle and wearing body armor. Mark Wilson fired back with a handgun, hitting the shooter but not penetrating the armor. Mark drew the shooter’s fire, and ultimately drove him off, but was fatally wounded. Mark was the only death in this incident.
  • 3/21/2005 – Jeff Weise was a student at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minnesota. He killed seven people including a teacher and a security guard. When police cornered him inside the school, he shot and killed himself.
  • 11/8/2005 – Kenneth Bartley, Jr. brought a .22 caliber pistol to Campbell County Comprehensive High School in Jacksboro, Tennessee and killed 1 person before being disarmed by a teacher.
  • 9/29/2006 – Eric Hainstock brought a .22 caliber revolver and a 20-gauge shotgun into Weston High School in Cazenovia, Wisconson. He killed one person before staff and students apprehended him and held him until the police arrived.
  • 4/16/2007 – Seung-Hui Cho was the shooter behind the Virgina Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Virginia. Police apprehend the wrong suspect allowing the shooter to walk across campus and open fire again in a second location. He eventually committed suicide after murdering 32 people.
  • 12/9/2007 – Matthew J. Murray entered the Youth With A Mission training center in Arvada, Colorado and killed two people, then went to the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado killing two more. He was shot and injured by church member Jeanne Assam and committed suicide before police arrived.
  • 9/3/2008 – Isaac Zamora went on a shooting rampage in Alger, Washington that killed six people, including a motorist shot during a high speed chase with police. He eventually surrendered to police.
  • 3/29/2009 – Robert Stewart went on a killing rampage armed with a rifle, and a shotgun in a nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina. He killed eight people and was apprehended after a shootout with police.
  • 4/3/2009 – Jiverly Wong went on a shooting rampage at a American Civic Association immigration center in Binghamton, New York where he was enrolled in a citizenship class. Thirteen people were killed before the shooter killed himself. Witnesses say he turned the gun on himself as soon as he heard police sirens approaching.
  • 11/5/2009 – Nidal Malik Hasan was the shooter behind the Fort Hood shooting at a military base just outside Killeen, Texas. The shooter entered the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where personnel are disarmed, armed with a laser sighted pistol and a Smith & Wesson revolver. He killed 13 people before he was shot by a Civilian Police officer.
  • 2/12/2010 – Amy Bishop went on a shooting rampage in classroom at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama. She killed three people before the Dean of the University, Debra Moriarity pushed her out of the room and blockaded the door. Bishop was arrested later.
  • 1/8/2011 – Jared Lee Loughner is charged with the shooting in Tucson, Arizona that killed 6 people, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll. He was stopped when he was tackled by two civilians.
  • 2/27/2012 – T.J. Lane entered Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio with a handgun and started shooting. Three students died. The shooter was chased out of the building by a teacher and apprehended by police later.
  • 4/22/2012 – Kiarron Parker opened fire in a church parking lot in Aurora, Colorado. Parker killed one person before being shot and killed by a member of the congregation who was carrying concealed.
  • 7/20/2012 – James Holmes went into a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Twelve people were killed, before the shooter surrendered to police.
  • 8/5/2012 – Wade Michael Page entered a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire killing six people. He committed suicide after being shot by police.
  • 12/14/12 – Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School with two handguns and a rifle, going room-to-room shooting students and staff. He killed 27 in all including 20 children, and committed suicide after police arrived.

Step Four: Final analysis

With 15 incidents stopped by police with a total of 217 dead that’s an average of about 14.29. With 17 incidents stopped by civilians and 45 dead that’s an average of 2.33.

The first point I want to draw your attention to is that roughly half of shooting rampages end in suicide anyway. What that means is that police are not ever in a position to stop most of them. Only the civilians present at the time of the shooting have any opportunity to stop those shooters. That’s probably more important than the statistic itself. In a shooting rampage, counting on the police to intervene at all is a coin flip at best.

Second, within the civilian category 11 of the 17 shootings were stopped by unarmed civilians. What’s amazing about that is that whether armed or not, when a civilian plays hero it seems to save a lot of lives. The courthouse shooting in Tyler, Texas was the only incident where the heroic civilian was killed. In that incident the hero was armed with a handgun and the villain was armed with a rifle and body armor. If you compare the average of people killed in shootings stopped by armed civilians and unarmed civilians you get 1.8 and 2.6 but that’s not nearly as significant as the difference between a proactive civilian, and a cowering civilian who waits for police.

So, given that far fewer people die in rampage shootings stopped by a proactive civilian, only civilians have any opportunity to stop rampage shootings in roughly half of incidents, and armed civilians do better on average than unarmed civilians, wouldn’t you want those heroic individuals who risk their lives to save others to have every tool available at their disposal?

* Updated 12/15/2012 – This article was originally posted shortly after the Dark Knight premier shooting in Aurora, Colorado, but I have continued to refine the data set and update the statistics. I am especially grateful to all the knowledgeable commenters who have helped correct my errors. I was also contacted by a college professor who I supplied with all my research notes, so they can be peer-reviewed and perhaps published in a more academic setting. So, in light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut that has left 27 dead, including 20 children, I updated this article to reflect shootings that have occurred since the Aurora, Colorado shooting, and corrected the errors that readers brought to my attention. I have preserved the integrity of the original analysis and have only updated the raw numbers and a few factual errors.


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12,779 Responses to “Auditing Shooting Rampage Statistics”

  1. Ray HorvathNo Gravatar says:


    Where is the violence? I am laughing at you. Derision is all you deserve.

    • Dear Ray, Apparently the violence is in your heart.

      I won’t read any more of your comments so you might want to direct your venom toward someone else.

      • Ray HorvathNo Gravatar says:

        Marianna, DO NOT READ THIS!


        Apparently, Marianna must be so cloistered with others of her mindset that she is not used to disagreement and when challenged on her assertions, she sees disagreement as hate and violence. She is more likely to go on a shooting rampage than I am and I carry a gun every day.

        • The EXACT parallel to this is to ban pictures of hamburgers to solve obesity. Brain scans show that a section of obese people react to a picture of a hamburger. Therefore they eat hamburgers BECAUSE of pictures! It’s so simple really…

          • JamesNo Gravatar says:

            Or ban cars since there are more deaths in cars then almost anything elce

            • Chris BNo Gravatar says:

              To the person who said we should ban cars,
              I ALWAYS this when i see people all crying and saying how sad and tragic an event it. Very true, it is very tragic, but you know, over 100 people die everyday in car accidents EVERYDAY.
              So if you wanna save lives, don’t drive your car. If everyone did this over 100 lives would be saved every day it was done.

  2. “What non-facts?” Here we have a passive aggressive author who thinks theories are facts. Again, you wrote a book – the conclusion of which was inferred through statistical data. INFERRED not proven.

    Of the 300,000,000 legally owned guns in the US .000003% are used to murder. Of that .000003% how many are used in mass murders? I’d wager it’s less than 1% of the .000003% given that mass murder is relatively uncommon. They seem like they’re common because low body count shootings don’t get the headlines. And, we know that 40% of Americans play video games. For the sake of the argument let’s say 5% of the population play FPS shooters specifically. I think we’ve lowballed this number grossly but let’s use it anyway.

    Now let’s explore the mind of our rampage shooters. Are people who have killed other people attracted to violence? Uh… yeah. Do they play violent video games? Probably. Did the game make them violent? I think it’s safe to say they’d been teetering on the edge of sanity for a while. Did the game make them violent? No. The reason they seek out violent games is because they’ve already discovered inherent violence or experienced violence.

    Despite all of this, you’re telling me that 5% of the US population is in danger of being morphed into a fiend, thirsty for the blood of innocent people which should grossly inflate the .000003%? I think not. The fact that such a miniscule fraction of a percent of video game players actually commit murders, does not provide empiracle evidence that video games cause people to “snap”. Millions of people play video games on a daily basis and do not go on a “rampage shooting”. Millions of people play video games for reasons other than fulfilling murderous fantasies.

    My point is that you’re demonizing video games because an estimated 1% of .000003% MIGHT be influenced to kill by playing a video game. You don’t even know for sure and your research does not even prove it. There is statistical research that suggests there is a correlation but no cause and effect. You know…. They murderers MIGHT come up with the idea all by themselves. Maybe we should outlaw thinking? (yes that was snarky because I think it’s funny).

    That said, I am not loyal to video games nor is it part of MY culture. I don’t play them anymore and I really couldn’t care less about them. It was something I did when I was a kid for a brief time, on and off. I think they’re a waste of time but I don’t need to force everybody else to feel the same way.

    Good luck with your book.

  3. RebeccaNo Gravatar says:

    average deaths by shooting rampage when NO CIVILIANS can carry guns: 0

    • Ray HorvathNo Gravatar says:


      What you say just might be true but please consider these questions.

      Given that there are an estimated 300 million firearms in this country, how do you propose to rid them from civilian hands?

      Given that there are hundreds of thousands of people with the skills to mke a firearm, how do you prevent more firearms from being made?

      Given that firearms are the defensive tool of choice of the old, the weak, and the lone individual against a younger, stronger, and more numberous attacker, how do these people protect themselves?

      Do you really think that a firearm is the only weapon used to kill?

      While there has seemingly been an increase in this type of crime, the number of lives saved by firearms EVERY DAY far exceeds the total deaths by all of the rampage shooters combined . Do you believe that these lives are not worth saving?

      Please consider these questions and the answers to them and rethink your comment.

      Thank you,


      • Bingo. Gun control is an illogical attempt to save a few at the expense of many.

        A higher level of education tends to be a more effective preventative measure against violent crime than banning a specific device. By improving the level of education we may shape the future of potential criminals but personal accountability is still paramount regardless of educational levels. Personal accountability has been overlooked to a shameful and insulting degree when somebody blames a shooting on the gun rather than the person who fired it. Why is nobody blaming knives when somebody gets stabbed? Why does nobody blame a computer when somebody gets hacked?

        Because, it’s a stupid thing to blame. That’s why.

    • This is absolutely 100% untrue. We have plenty of non-civilians with guns in our country. A law, or a sign does nothing to deter them in the same way that the illegality of murder doesn’t stop them. The entire corridor between Mexico and Phoenix AZ is closed to Americans because it’s been occupied by dangerous cartels who don’t value human life.

      By taking a gun out of my hand, you’ve effectively given me no way to effectively defend myself from people like this. Can you live with yourself, knowing that you support the disarmament of good civilians? Can you live with yourself knowing that your support does nothing but empower those who have such evil intent that they don’t care whether guns are illegal or not?

    • AaronNo Gravatar says:

      Rebecca, that’s not the case. Please readthis article at the Sun Sentinel (news) website:

      “Police Officer Goes On Rampage, Kills Five Neighbors, Himself
      April 11, 2002|By Hugo Kugiya National Correspondent

      TOMS RIVER, N.J. — Six hours after finishing a routine patrol, a Jersey Shore police officer shot and killed five neighbors and wounded his police chief before turning his gun on himself, authorities said Wednesday.

      The body of Edward Lutes, 42, a 17-year veteran with the Seaside Heights Police Department, was found Wednesday morning in the driveway of a house in nearby Barnegat Township, the car’s engine running. The house, not far from where Police Chief James Costello was shot, apparently was chosen at random.

      In the car, police found the .40-caliber handgun Lutes used to kill himself, and the MP5, a police-issued submachine gun he used late Tuesday night to kill his neighbors, three of whom lived across the street from him, and two of whom lived behind his house. Seaside Heights Police Chief James Costello, whom Lutes shot in the leg and wrist, is expected to recover fully from his injuries.

      Killed in one home were Dominick Galliano, 51, his wife, Gail Galliano, 49, and their son, Christopher, 25. Killed in the other home were Gary Williams, 48, and his wife, Tina Williams, 46. Their grown son, whom police did not identify, escaped by climbing out a rear window.

      The shootings were an eerie echo of a February rampage about a mile away, in which retired Newark police officer John Mabie allegedly shot and killed his granddaughter and three neighbors, also in Toms River.

      “I would not draw any conclusions based on two isolated incidents,” said Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Greg Sakowicz.

      Fellow officers said Lutes showed no signs of being depressed. His fiancM-ie was killed in a car crash a year ago, but Lutes had a new girlfriend, with whom he lived. Lutes and his neighbors had some “deal of acrimony,” Sakowicz said, but would not give details. Dover Township Police said it has a report in which one of the dead neighbors said Lutes slashed a car tire. No charges were filed.

      Hugo Kugiya writes for Newsday, a Tribune Co. newspaper.”

    • Henry BowmanNo Gravatar says:

      Rebecca says:
      “average deaths by shooting rampage when NO CIVILIANS can carry guns: 0”

      Good thinking, Rebecca.

      Now explain Major Nidal Malik Hasan.

      Then explain the Nuevo Laredo massacres.

      After that, explain the 2007 mass shooting in Sasebo, Japan.

      FInally, explain Kristallnacht.


    • MikeNo Gravatar says:

      Soooo, your solution to end drunk driving would be to prevent sober people from buying cars. Or to prevent stabbing deaths make it impossible for chefs to get kitchen cutlery? Sorry little girl, there’s no logic in your argument. States/municipalities with the toughest gun control laws have the highest crime rates. States/municipalities with more relaxed gun control laws have lower crime rates. That’s not a feeling, that’s a fact. Gun control laws only disarm the victim, that’s a fact. But you really don’t care about facts, do you? It’s only how you “feel”, you “feel” that being a victim is morally superior than fighting back against crime. Oh, and while you “feel” that it’s more important to be a victim, research Warren v. District of Columbia. You know the one where the Federal Judge stated that Police have no duty to respond. But you knew this already, didn’t you? You know the story how Warren and her two roommates were raped, brutalized, and sexually assaulted over 14 hours because the police didn’t respond to a 911 call. When Warren and here roommates sued the police the judge told them the police didn’t have a duty to respond. So think about that when you become a victim, you may “feel” that you’re morally superior but that isn’t going to help your situation, especially if the police decide not to respond to your cries for help. If you’re lucky, someone with a concealed carry permit may have to save you.

      • John D.No Gravatar says:

        “States/municipalities with the toughest gun control laws have the highest crime rates.”

        “States/municipalities with more relaxed gun control laws have lower crime rates.”

        Now read what you just wrote, and think about the actual correlation.

        Why might a high crime area need stricter gun control laws?

        • Dave GNo Gravatar says:

          That’s a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” argument.

        • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

          To disarm and render helpless the greater population, in order to have them clamoring for more governmental control (cops). Stricter gun laws don’t seem to inconvenience the criminals one bit.

        • Henry BowmanNo Gravatar says:

          That argument was debunked over 20 years ago, as polities started transitioning from restrictive gun laws to liberal gun laws. In each case, violent crime WENT DOWN. Do the homework.

    • PhilNo Gravatar says:

      This simply is NOT true. Even when NO firearms are allowed by civilians, firearm deaths and voilence do not decrease. Look at the facts in the UK gun bans and it proves that disarmament does not prevent any violence at all. In fact, violent crime doubled!

      Disarmament as a means to try and eliminate violence is a dead issue.

    • Half and HalfNo Gravatar says:

      Average deaths are 0? Agenda anyone? Frame a strawman to bring peace to your denial of reality. Here is only one of many realities you choose to deny: Timothy McVeigh. Killed many without a gun, because the criminal had planned to kill. The gun is no more the issue than the car with a drunk driver, or a hamburger with an overweight glutton. You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences.

      • Henry BowmanNo Gravatar says:

        No, no, she said “average deaths BY SHOOTING RAMPAGE.” Rebecca is one of those idiots, like Gloria Bunker, who feels better about it if people are “pushed out of windows” (in Archie’s words) as long as they are not shot. The fact that firearms are the only effective way for a weaker victim to survive an attack by a stronger aggressor, in a situation where the aggressor would not NEED a firearm to overcome, is entirely lost on them — as is the fact that since Britain banned handguns, their violent crime rate now far exceeds that of the United States.

        This is why the popular .sig says that gun control is the philosophy that a woman found in an alley, raped and then strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to the police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.

    • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

      When you advocate complete disarmament of civilians, please consider the millions of murders done by the governments which made possession of weapons illegal. This datum is available from JFPO and other sources.

    • PeterNo Gravatar says:

      How about we consider statistics in countries that have very strict gun laws? Do people die in those countries by guns or other violence? Yes. Who still has guns in those countries? Criminals and government officials. The killers? Criminals and armed government officials. So, if you think disarming law abiding citizens = 0 gun deaths, sorry. MILLIONS of deaths in “gun ban” history to soundly dismiss that theory.

      • CJNo Gravatar says:

        You guys should check out Kennesaw GA. They have one of the lowest crime rates of home invasion type crimes for their population compared to anywhere else in the US. Intresting fact about kennesaw- all home owners are required by law to own a gun to keep in their homes. Maybe do some research on that and write a piece about that.

    • cavtrooperNo Gravatar says:

      Off of your meds again?

  4. rightousONENo Gravatar says:

    Davi Baker, excellent work. I found my way here after I saw a chain email involving your original ‘meme’. Among other things, as a scientist source data and methodology is critical and can be evaluated more stringently than the results themselves. What you have done is take an anonymous ‘statistic’ with no cited material and validated it thoroughly. I am pleased to see your work and I would really enjoy it if you could continue to educate the masses driveling out there. I feel that a significant portion of the voting population out there base their political mindset with sourceless internet pictures and claims aimed at biased political misguidance. I view your efforts as a way of undoing some of that.

    Thanks again

  5. JoshNo Gravatar says:


    I think you should also publish the results, figuring in the shooters who killed themselves before anyone could intervene. What we have now is a good idea of how many lives are saved by civilians with guns vs. police with guns. To get the full story for society, it is also important (in my opinion) to compare how many lives are saved by anyone at all with guns, vs. how many rampages simply aren’t stoppable by anyone.

    It would shed light beyond just the issue of gun control or not, and give perspective on tragedy. Some is simply unavoidable, nothing anyone can do.

  6. hecateNo Gravatar says:

    You missed the incident on December 5, 2007 when Robert Hawkins killed nine (including himself) and wounded four more in the Westroads Mall Von Maur department store in Omaha, Nebraska.

    An acquaintance I used to shoot with in IPSC/IDPA matches was there. He later said he had the shot and could have taken out the murderer. Unfortunately, the mall is a Gun Free Criminal Protection Zone and his carry gun was locked in his car. Funny how that never made the news . . .

  7. BURNINHELLNo Gravatar says:


    • Henry BowmanNo Gravatar says:

      No, just that portion of it that think they “know better” than the ACTUAL PLAIN WORDS of the Bill of RIghts.

  8. DurablefaithNo Gravatar says:

    Good job doing the research and sharing your methods. Did you make a new graphic? Link?

  9. Jonsie MaherNo Gravatar says:

    “The average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.3

    The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.3.”

    What qualifies a shooting where and ave. 2.3 people are killed as a mass shooting?

    • Chris BNo Gravatar says:

      If you read the full post, he states what defines a “mass murder” a “shooting spree” a “school schooting” ect…

      Even if the guy did lie and nit picked out shootings.
      WHO CARES.
      I rather have the guy next to me, save my life because HE knows how and owns a gun. Than get murdered by an asshole.

  10. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Davi, any chance that you’ll update this post as time goes on? For example, put something at the bottom like:

    Author’s Edit 12/14/12: Today, such and such happened. Accounting for this new information we see the rate changes from X to Y, or something.

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

      Yes, in fact I’m working on it right now!

      I’ve got to add this most recent shooting, and the Batman shooting, and make some corrections that our brilliant readers pointed out. More soon.

      • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

        Okay, just do me a favor and make sure that ANY EDITS you do are clearly labeled as an author edit, and the date that you edited it. Preferably put the edits at the bottom, but if not at the bottom, preferably leave the original statements in tact, and put the edit after the original statement, , just to keep edits well documented and the original article preserved.

        • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

          I was planning on posting a fresh artcle, not editing the original. I’d link back to the original. Sound ok?

          • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

            No, I want this one edited. This post has already gotten over 1,000 unique visitors today. This is the one that has great SEO, and is being linked to by a bunch of sites. Besides, it’s more powerful if you have an original article and old publish date, and then have edits that are recent.

            A new article would be a bad idea for other reasons I won’t get into.

  11. MexicanStewieNo Gravatar says:

    Another one you should add if you update this: 3/24/98 Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden, the two young kids who loaded up a van with weapons and camping supplies then killed five people and wounded ten others at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, AR until they were apprehended by police.

  12. BryanNo Gravatar says:

    Great data, and extremely valid argument. I’m curious though, as to what the data would look like if other developed countries were included, and compared with the data here. Seeing as how many western European countries enforce more stringent gun control laws, you may be able to make an even more compelling argument as to the effects of gun control on the number of casualties from “rampage murders”. The rampage murder committed by Anders Behring Breivik is one of the worst and it took police hours to apprehend him, after he killed almost 70 people, many of which were children,

  13. JoeNo Gravatar says:

    As a Hokie, we learn a bit about the shooting that happened on our campus. Seung-Hui Cho was actually tackled by a cadet named Matthew Laporte. Laporte tackled Cho and was ultimately fatally wounded but his actions prompted Cho to commit suicide.

  14. TomNo Gravatar says:

    Portland, OR – 12/11/2012

    An gunman shoots randomly at innocent people, kills two. Suspect kills himself after being confronted by an armed citizen who chooses not to fire due to concern about hitting people behind the shooter. r-183593571.html

  15. Half and HalfNo Gravatar says:

    Here is a significant one to add. The Amish Schoolhouse shooting. On October 2, 2006, a shooting occurred at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the Old Order Amish community of Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV took hostages and shot ten girls (aged 6–13), killing five, before committing suicide in the schoolhouse

  16. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    Statistically who is more likely to be present at a shooting, a civilian or a cop? Is it any wonder that many incidents are diffused by a civilian? Many of the civilian solved incidents didn’t even cite a gun being used by the civilians. You do a disservice to those reading this message to state that somehow armed citizens are better equipped to solve mass shooting incidents. That is simply not the case. Proximity is the difference here.

    So, civilians diffused an incident before cops got there. No shit. That is fucking brilliant.

    • PH24No Gravatar says:

      Wow Mark,
      Do you realize you just lost an argument with yourself? Unlikely.

      • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

        I was thinking the same thing. It sure seems like Mark is saying the same thing I’m saying… except I agree with myself, and somehow Mark disagrees with himself.

        • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

          *”somehow Mark disagrees with himself.”

          A fairly common occurrence with schizophrenics.

          • MarkNo Gravatar says:

            “A fairly common occurrence with schizophrenics.”

            Look up Ad Hominem Huapakechi. Sorry, thanks for playing!

            • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

              Now where have I seen that particular phrasing before? You paid trolls must all using the same playbook.

              Never mind. I’ll just add another of your nom-de-farce identities to my ignore list.

      • MarkNo Gravatar says:

        Next time you guys get in a pinch be sure and call the neighbour instead of the cops. You’ve convinced me you have a much better survival rate. Point is, there is nothing astounding being revealed here, yet it is framed in such a way as to imply that arming everyone will solve problems. Citizens, after all (guy pictured on the right with a concealed weapon) make all the right moves. So by all means, hand them guns.

        People need to wise up and realize that gun ownership comes with a responsibility just like driving. People owning them should carry insurance and be held liable for incidents that happen with their use. Anyone with kooky relatives doesn’t get one. Sorry…you can’t have a gun, you live with someone diagnosed with mental illness.

        • Ray HorvathNo Gravatar says:

          If having that relative bars me from having guns, can I still play baseball and have a bat? Can I still have steak and use a knife to cut it up? Can I have a pry bar to do work around the house?

          In this country, we do not punish the innocent. Hell, it’s getting rare that we even punish the guilty.

          I still believe that your intent is to disarm everyone.

    • cavtrooperNo Gravatar says:

      Are the voices in your head getting out of hand again?

  17. Really excellent. Well written and thoroughly researched. Great piece of work.

  18. Griggk the goblinNo Gravatar says:

    I think I understand what Mark is trying to say…the average civilian is neither trained nor equipped for an intervention scenario. I think this is pretty obvious. If it were otherwise, then 100% of rampage shootings would end with civilian intervention.

    However, this doesn’t invalidate the math here…when the population has to wait for police intervention, the shooter has a lot more time available to squeeze off rounds.

    This article doesn’t imply that law enforcement agents are unnecessary. It does illustrate that the delay in response time is a factor in the rampage shooter’s favor.

    • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

      The “average civilian” gun owner also knows he can be held liable for his actions, where the average cop is held immune for the most part, often enough on a badge trip, and has the propensity to empty the mag when one accurate shot could end the situation.

      Cops don’t practice realistic marksmanship near enough either, even though they get their ammunition and range time for free.

      • cavtrooperNo Gravatar says:

        Doncha just love that sovereign immunity cops have from lawsuits,if they fuck up?Start suing them personally,and I’ll bet they’re much more carefull.

    • MarkNo Gravatar says:

      If you look at the meme being circulated on Facebook, the message is clear. Citizens with concealed weapons do a better job. The meme has thousands of shares and hundreds of comments. Many of them pointing out the very thing I am here. Davi has a knack for pointing out the obvious and then somehow (illogically) driving to a horrible conclusion. “More guns” is not the answer. A better statistic would be to do a real comparison (not the manufactured ones on the web) about whether an armed citizen “BANG!” took out the perpetrator of a supposed mass shooting when they had the opportunity (a citizen actually had a gun at the mass shooting location). BTW, one of the arguments on Facebook is that 2.2 people is not a “mass shooting”.

      • TimNo Gravatar says:

        Did you even read the article?? He clearly referenced which involved armed citizens and which didn’t. Sample:

        “Second, within the civilian category 11 of the 17 shootings were stopped by unarmed civilians. What’s amazing about that is that whether armed or not, when a civilian plays hero it seems to save a lot of lives.”

  19. Mark MattkeNo Gravatar says:

    I have stated before and I will say again,
    1. Apply for and obtain a concealed carry or a carry permit.
    2. Purchase a small easily carried weapon, anything from a .25 to a .357 is adequate. You are interested in stopping a bad guy, not necessarily killing them, and any of these will easily kill. I personally like the short barreled Judge. It fires either .410 shotgun rounds or .45 long colt rounds. I use three .410s backed with two .45s. Using the 410 rounds your aim does not need to be so accurate and it will stop most bad guys, especially by the time #3 hits them and if not, #4 will take them out.
    3. Learn how to shoot. Take a class by a professional. You will learn to shoot and safety at the same time.

    4. Carry it and be prepared to use it at a moments notice. Don’t carry it in a dumb place, it must be accessible. I have a friend that carries inside his pants in his crotch. How in heck he plans to get it into action timely I will never know.

    In some places you will have to take the class before applying for a permit.

    • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

      Any weapon you can comfortably carry and shoot accurately is the weapon you should carry. A hit with a .22 beats three missed shots with a .44.

      Practice, practice, practice. That first hundred rounds is only the start.

      If the situation arises that I must use my handgun, I’m not interested in ‘stopping’ my target. I’ll be shooting until he is no longer a threat, then I’ll reload.

      Your friend would be at a disadvantage unless he’s wearing some incredibly loose pants, but at least he’s carrying. I hope he practices drawing that weapon with his finger off the trigger. That would be a VERY inconvenient area to accidentally wound yourself.

      Given a standing and facing target, my first point of aim is the groin, and I walk the point of aim up with successive shots.

    • cavtrooperNo Gravatar says:

      my CCW piece is a 9mm,although when I find a suitable shoulder holster,I’ll use my single action .22.

  20. longfellow deedsNo Gravatar says:

    Nice article!
    And to Mark, above, i sure would call my neighbor, whom is mere feet way and practice shoot with often! Responsible gun owners and carriers take the time to be trained in self defense and in intervention. I cant speak directly for other states, but in mine I had to be back ground checked and cleared of any history of mental illness before purchasing a handgun or semi auto .223.

    • MarkNo Gravatar says:

      The background check should extend to anyone who has access to your guns. You should be held liable for actions taken by someone using your guns.

  21. PlebonthewebNo Gravatar says:

    Your exclusion process seems random, you seem to have ended up with 30% of your original dataset, in pure statistical terms, it’s very possible that a different methodology yield different results.

    But again, the bigger issues here is that you do not control for anything and I’m not sure I exactly understand how one can draw conclusions about effectiveness of civilians in stopping mass shootings from that ratio.

    • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

      The data set is controlled for the two points being analyzed, rampage shootings stopped by police and rampage shootings stopped by civilians. Yes, the author could use the data to compare many other points, but that is not what this article is about. The ratio, 14.29:2.33, should be easy to understand. If you wait for the police to save you 6x more people die, possibly to include yourself. A civilian taking control of the situation will most likely save their own life and the lives of many others.

  22. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    For those of you with a statistical nature. This goes completely contrary to the implications of the internet meme. igation

  23. stabilityNo Gravatar says:

    Are you able to incorporate into your statistics how the perps obtained their weapons? Legally? Or taken easily from a family member who obtained them legally? Or obtained on the black market? Any stats on mental illness? (Certainly all these perps have or had some sort of mental ailment, but were there signs of these prior to the rampages?)

  24. BeansNo Gravatar says:

    I feel like people are fixating on the wrong ideas here. I too LOVE the idea of a hero civilian, who has the capacity to instantly disable an attacker with a firearm. But the problem with handing out guns to all of these would-be heroes, is that you will also place them into the hands of the people the heroes will need to fight. The price of giving the average, unskilled Joe a CHANCE to be a hero, is somewhat negated by the probability that the killer got his weapon legally too.

    Nevertheless, the article was very interesting, if not particularly conclusive. I would’ve hoped that someone would’ve made something of the fact that in the only incident where a civilian actually KILLED the shooter with a firearm, (Kiarron Parker), the “civilian” was an off-duty police officer. If this article does nothing else, it points to the inability of civilians to use firearms effectively to drop an attacker.

    • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

      You are mistaken. Perhaps deliberately so. I have no illusions about the magical properties of guns or civilian shooters. (Nine years Army, two years VN) I do know that the greater majority of civ shooters injure fewer bystanders than cops, perhaps because they are not doing the ‘magazine dump’ style of shooting.

      Is killing the perp your only gage for the effectiveness of armed deterrence? Most thug types withdraw quickly upon discovering the potential victim is armed.

    • Henry BowmanNo Gravatar says:

      What nonsense. That’s like claiming that “handing out” (who is “handing out” guns now? Where’s the queue?) whiskey to the general public will also put it into the hands of people who will abuse it.

      Funny, when the general public couldn’t obtain alcohol — or heroin, or crack, or meth — the people who abused it never had any problem getting it.

      Prohibition laws never work. Never, never, EVER.

  25. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    If Adam Lanza’s mother had had guns she could have stopped this. 🙂

  26. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    I wish you would also look at the problem with poorly and over prescription of physiological drugs. The 15 school shooting have all the shooter were on these… or jumped off them …

    • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

      I can believe you, but do you have a link or some other verification? Statements like that don’t help without some kind of substantiation.

  27. DawnNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to research and compile the data. It’s greatly appreciated. You also show grace when dealing with certain replies. Signed…2nd generation CC permit holder.

  28. Branko StojkovicNo Gravatar says:

    Among those heroic civilians, how many of them are former/current cops, military people, firemen, etc? In other words, how many are people with serious training vs just those who happened to have guns?

  29. Branko StojkovicNo Gravatar says:

    For example, the case of shooting in Aurora, CO:

    4/22/2012 – Kiarron Parker opened fire in a church parking lot in Aurora, Colorado. The shooter killed 1 person before being shot and killed by a member of the congregation who was carrying concealed.

    I recall reading that this was a out of duty cop who had a concealed gun.

    • DougNo Gravatar says:

      so only one person was murdered (thus, it was not a mass murder) and the person who killed the murdered was not a civilian

  30. CarlNo Gravatar says:

    The point is, as revealed by Davi’s research, Civilian intervention is neither haphazardly reckless or dangerously inept. If fact, the data show armed civilians show great restraint & self control in these tense moments (not shooting for fear of hitting the inocent) but defusing the rampage and saving lives– Not because the acting civilian is a hero (thow heroic they are) & not because they are somehow better than police(that’s not the inference of the study). This is the opposite of what many gun control advocates would have you believe. Good work Davi

  31. JakeNo Gravatar says:

    No one here has hit on the idea that the police INDIRECTLY protect us by enforcing laws. the police are not there to protect you, the constitution allows for the carrying of firearms to protect yourself and the police to enforce the law. but relying on police for protection is like relying on lifeguards for help in the middle of the ocean, there’s a chance they’ll make it in time but more than likely they won’t.

  32. Ray HorvathNo Gravatar says:


    I have to correct you on a small but very important part of your post. You may well know this but just did not state it properly.

    The Constitution does not ‘allow’ citizens to do anything. Our rights are virtually limitless (we are where the government gets its power) while federal (and states to a lesser degree) have only a few and defined powers when we delegated them certain limited authority to act on our behalf.

    Without the BoR or the Constitution, we would still have to right to defend ourselves against criminals and more importantly, against government tyranny.

  33. TNo Gravatar says:

    I like how this is supposed to support gun ownership and yet only 5 of the 17 civilian cases were by armed civilians. The other 12 were all unarmed. Also the attacker with the .22 weapons end quicker with less deaths than with a higher calibre weapon. You could deduct from this supposed statistical proof that that A) Guns are not as necessary for self defence as gun advocates would like to believe as more incidents are stopped by unarmed civilians than armed ones B) restricting firearms to lower calibres would greatly decrease the mortality rate and increase the chance of apprehension

    • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

      Your second argument is invalid, Sandy Hook was done with a .223, as are many rampages. The diameter of the bullet has less to do with damage than bullet design and energy.

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

      “Guns are not as necessary for self defence as gun advocates would like to believe as more incidents are stopped by unarmed civilians than armed ones”

      Who would be more successful in stopping an armed gunmen if we assumed the same response time, the same caliber bullet and all else being equal, an armed police officer or an unarmed police officer? Why would it be any different for civilians?

      If you really think this analysis shows that guns are not necessary for self defense would you advocate disarming police officers?

  34. Blake CentiniNo Gravatar says:

    Can’t wait to read your findings in a published paper. Where are you sending it to be published?

  35. Andy RNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for doing this research and posting it. Mathematics is my specialty as well and I have been tiring of the anti-gun ignorance I have been forced to endure from people who should know better.
    I have compiled similar statistics in the past and fully appreciate how much work this must have been.

    I salute you and will do what I can to ensure as many people see this as possible.
    Well done.

  36. CarlNo Gravatar says:

    T, you said”Guns are not as necessary for self defence as gun advocates would like to believe as more incidents are stopped by unarmed civilians than armed ones” That’s like saying most auto accidents don’t involve air bag deployment therefore, air bags are not necessary. Of course air bags are necessary because they save lives, right? But accident frequency is not diminished or detoured due to the exsistance of air bags – they still happen regardless of safety devices. A plausable argument can be made that armed law abiding public will and can deminish and detour killing rampages. This study refutes the long held assumption that armed citizens can only leed to more deaths due to their untrained reckless disregard for safety. The data show a net-positive effect in diffusing carnage and saving lives. The argument that ,more guns(in law abiding society) can only leed to more death, cannot be forewarded IF the reverse is true.

  37. Miles LundstromNo Gravatar says:

    All this is fine but not the reason for the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment is to protect us from the government. Study Agenda 21, Study the over 935 excetive orders signed by Obama. Read the 2nd amandment we have the right to a milita, And that my friends is not the UN troopers that are comming to geathering up your guns.

  38. Chris M.No Gravatar says:

    Not mentioned is the IHOP shooting in Carson City, NV on September 6th, 2011. Four dead (3 Army National Guardsmen and one civilian), plus gunman killed himself, 8 others wounded. t/gunman-dead-after-killing-wounding-nevada-restaurant/#.UM9Q8G_A d8E

  39. JNCNo Gravatar says:

    There is no “blanket solution” that will fix what keeps happening to our children. This weekend, I’ve heard so many reasons for why this is happening, such as “God isn’t in the schools”, “guns should be banned”, “more people should have guns”, “schools need more security”, “movies are too violent” “music is too violent” etc. I am no specialist, but I don’t think anyone can successfully identify
    a scapegoat for what that 20 year old did to those 20 first graders on Friday.

    Maybe because I’m a person who has a special ed background, and who works with children of all ages all of the time that battle with crippling mental illnesses every moment of their lives, but I honestly think the root of all of these things is mental health. Mentally healthy people do not shoot up schools. Mentally healthy people do not need to say the Our Father in the mornings during school in order not to shoot people. Mentally healthy people can watch movies about violence and play video games that are violent and not shoot people. Mentally healthy people can listen to an Eminem song and not shoot people. And, just in my own opinion, mentally healthy people can and SHOULD have guns for protection from the mentally unhealthy people that do use guns to kill people.

    I think it’s time to stop putting so many restraints on what mentally healthy people can and cannot do- because those are the ONLY PEOPLE that will actually follow such rules- and that puts us right back to SQUARE ONE. A mentally unstable person will kill, period.- Those are the people we start with.. Not the rappers, not with the bible, not with movie producers, not with game makers, and not with disputes over gun control. Guns don’t kill people- Mentally unstable people kill people, and they will find those guns even if they are banned just like heroin addicts still get heroin via underground criminal organizations that the government STILL has never been able to “control”.

    Basically, guns exist- and they will always exist- and as long as even ONE exists, so does a potential to shoot someone- that is what THEY WERE DESIGNED TO DO. You will get NOWHERE with your head in the clouds with stupid solutions such as “gun control” because we already have a form of that, and it is called 25 to life in prison for killing someone because murder is illegal. We need clear, viable, feasible solutions to this heinous and disgusting problem we are experiencing as a nation- not candy-coated sugar dreams that will just NOT HAPPEN. I wish we didn’t need guns- I wish guns were never made- but I also wish cancer didn’t exist- and I wish everyone had a damn Golden Retriever puppy to come home to as well…. But this isn’t a Miss America Pageant.

  40. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    More guns mean more deaths no matter how you frame it. Maybe they won’t be a school full of children but there *will be* more deaths. Obviously banning won’t work, nor do I advocate such, but making excuses for more is terribly irresponsible. This poorly formed “statistical” analysis and the resultant Facebook meme is disgraceful. Look for preventative measures rather than trying to solve it after the fact… it’s way too late then.

    • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

      “More guns mean more deaths no matter how you frame it.” That’s a testable claim. Do you have any evidence?

      “This poorly formed “statistical” analysis and the resultant Facebook meme is disgraceful.” Forgive me if the criticisms from amateur statisticians don’t carry as much weight after the professional statisticians say my analysis is sound.

      “Look for preventative measures rather than trying to solve it after the fact.” Any suggestions? How about if instead of teaching 200 children in 1 location we teach 20 children in 10 locations. Or even 2 children in 100 locations. Decentralize the targets and mass shootings become impossible.

      • MarkNo Gravatar says:

        Your self-assigned title of math enthusiast does not stand up in light of your statistical methods. Regarding more guns mean more deaths, I think even a simpleton could see a correlation. Zero cars zero car accidents, many cars, many accidents, zero guns zero gun deaths, lots of guns, lots of gun deaths. Operating in a vacuum where the only things guns are used for are a) committing crimes or b) use in resolving a crime is unrealistic. More guns will also result in more crimes, more suicides, more accidents, and so on. How could it be any other way? Does their presence in massive numbers somehow nullify their use?

        I will give you this, your command of the observing the obvious is beyond reproach. What I object to the most is the posting of the meme showing the photo above with your “statistics”. It’s misleading and irresponsible, but then you obviously have a beef with those of us who would rather see strict controls in place.

        • MarkNo Gravatar says:

          BTW, I am a computer engineer who works with control systems where we have to carefully filter data in order to separate signal from noise. It’s my job. I know a thing or two about statistics.

        • Andy RNo Gravatar says:

          Did you study ANY history in school? Any at all?
          At what point in history did outlawing something actually get it out of the hands of criminals?
          Any time a populace has been disarmed it is only a matter of time before said populace is horribly oppressed/exterminated.
          Hippie/socialist utopia not withstanding, the ONLY sure defense of individual freedom and safety is the individual.

          • MarkNo Gravatar says:

            Did I say anything about disarming the populace? No, in fact, if you read some of my replies you will see that I said that doesn’t work. Yes, prohibition history is a proven fact. If people want something they will get it, thus our failed “war on drugs”.

            • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

              “Did I say anything about disarming the populace?” … “those of us who would rather see strict controls in place.” Am I missing something?

              “Being insulting and calling names does not work. You should try submitting something of substance.” Hey something we agree on.

              • MarkNo Gravatar says:

                Controlling something is not the same as taking it away. There are regulations on cars. Yes they are limiting so something is being taken away, like my ability to have a car that dumps huge amounts of unburned hydrocarbons into the air. I don’t want anybody to take your buddies guns. I want him to know that there is a cost to this freedom and I am unwilling to have most of that cost be set upon the general populace.

                Several of us have pointed out problems with your sampling size and selection process. Beyond that, even if the numbers change little, it is irresponsible to imply that simply if more people were armed (look at the concealed carry guy on the right) that things would be better because citizens are essentially the “first responders”. You have no basis for that implication.

                • MarkNo Gravatar says:

                  The cost: 30,000+ deaths each year in the U.S. from guns.

                  • Andy RNo Gravatar says:

                    Can you honestly attribute all of those deaths to the presence of a gun in the situation? I think not.
                    When violence is intended towards another- guns are the equalizer. Else, you have nothing remaining but brute force.

                    • MarkNo Gravatar says:

                      “How does the number of murders committed with firearms compare to the number of suicides committed with firearms?
                      According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2011 there were 19,766 suicides committed with firearms and 11,101 homicides committed with firearms.”

                      Looks like 30 thousand to me. Count it as a big part of the cost of owning a firearm. The dead end up paying that cost.


                    • AnthonyNo Gravatar says:

                      You are assuming that those 30k deaths wouldn’t have happened either way. 20k of those are suicides. Someone who wanted to kill themselves. Where there is a will there is a way.

                    • MarkNo Gravatar says:

                      30,000 in the U.S. die each year at the end of a gun barrel. The reason does not change that number. Do we want to further slice and dice that number based on how many were over domestic disputes, accidents, acts of rage, robberies, mass murders, etc. At any rate it does not change the fact that 30,000 U.S. citizens a year are dead due to gun use. That is part of the cost of gun ownership and it is time gun owners take on more responsibility in an effort to reduce that number.

                    • AnthonyNo Gravatar says:

                      You have to slice and dice it because it makes a difference.

                      The fact remains that our violent crime rates and murder rates have been dropping substantially for over 40 years despite the fact that more and more guns are being sold.

                      Again you are assuming that these people would not be dead either way. As I stated people who commit suicide want to die and people who commit murder want to kill. Where there is a will there is a way.

                      Taking away guns will not solve the problem because they are not the source.

                    • MarkNo Gravatar says:

                      What makes the difference is not the slicing and dicing. The fact that we have push-button-death solutions does. You can honestly say that the same number of people would be dead either way? Nearly every other form of death/murder is less efficient. Efficient killing machines need efficient regulation.

                    • AnthonyNo Gravatar says:

                      I can’t say that they would be dead but you also cannot say that they wouldn’t. Our murder rates and violent crime rates are dropping and have been for a long time. Let that sink in.

                      After you fully accept that consider this. Violent crime in other countries with stricter gun controls are going up.


                      Yes we have higher murder rates per capita than most of the industrialized nations. But murder is only one piece of the puzzle. As I am sure has been referenced many times for you Switzerland again REQUIRES every male to own an assault rifle. Not a pistol, a fully automatic assault rifle. Not one of these dumbed down AR’s that they sell here in the US to Civilians. Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates/murder rates in the world. That one statistic alone shows that it isn’t guns that equal the murder. Do we have a problem here in the US? Yes but the source is not the guns.

                    • MarkNo Gravatar says:

                      I have been advocating better regulation. Not prohibition. The cost in the U.S. is 30k lives every year. Isn’t it worth saving SOME of these people?

                  • DarforNo Gravatar says:

                    Suicide is a bad measure to use in considering gun activity. While it may make it a little more convenient at the present day, lack of guns in no way deters suicidal people. If it did diminish suicides Japan would be a text book example with their relatively extreme gun control — they are pretty much restricted to government forces and governmental agencies (i.e., police). However, Japan’s suicide rate is over double that of the US.

                    The bottom line in this debate for “more reasonable” gun control laws is that they want to work their way to somehow achieve total elimination of arms in the private sector — I don’t care how people scream that’s not true, all of the leaders of the control movements have admitted that that is their final goal.

                    The key fallacy of so-called gun control laws is that such laws do not in fact control guns. They simply disarm law-abiding citizens, while people bent on violence find firearms readily available. Gun control is not about controlling access to inanimate objects, it’s about controlling the people in a manner the governing elites feel is appropriate for the Utopian society they have envisioned — a society that can become reality because of the time proven basic human condition.

                    As to England’s futile attempt to disarm society: a recent article in USA Today, the criminal use of firearms in the United Kingdom has increased by “almost 40 percent in three years, to 3,685 incidents from 2,648.”

                • HuapakechiNo Gravatar says:

                  Yeah, history recounts how well ‘registration and regulation’ have worked in other countries.

                  “A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.” – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

                  Of course, our politicians will promise to never utilize the licenses or registrations to confiscate legally owned firearms, but what is a politician’s promise worth?

            • Andy RNo Gravatar says:

              The problem I have is people trying to correlate violence with guns – which is nonsense.
              Guns are the equalizing force of society.
              There is an old advertising slogan that illustrates what guns do for us.

              “God made men, Colt made men equal.”

              Look at the world from the POV of a preaditor.
              In a world full if guns you never know who might have the power to kill you should you attack them. A little old lady can put a bullet between your eyes as easily as can a 20 year old Marine.
              But in a world without guns that little old lady is completely helpless against you with a stout stick.

              Personally, I want to live in a world where no criminal feels safe and I don’t have to worry about an all-powerful government deciding to kill me at any time. The only way to accomplish both of those goals is if each person takes responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others.

              Preaditors prey on the weak, but with concealed guns, they can never know of sure who is weak, and who can kill them.
              That is as it should be.

        • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

          “Next time you guys get in a pinch be sure and call the neighbour instead of the cops. ” You must know my neighbor.

          “BTW, one of the arguments on Facebook is that 2.2 people is not a “mass shooting”.” These are not incidents of mass shootings. They are incidents of shooting rampages. I’ve been clear about defining my terms. Those are the standard definitions for crime classifications. But if you go into a book store and shoot 50 people, injuring 49 and only killing 1 that is a mass shooting.

          “in light of your statistical methods.” The funny thing about people who criticize my statistical methods is they don’t present a single objection to the actual statistics. They just repeat over and over again “I don’t like your conclusion” and then present absolutely no evidence for their conclusion. I frankly don’t care what you like. Reason and evidence or I’m not playing.

          “I think even a simpleton could see a correlation.”
          Often it’s the most obvious assumptions that simpletons jump to that prove to be the most inaccurate. A simpleton can see that the world is flat and a cannon ball will fall faster than a pebble. That’s why testing all assumptions with reason and evidence is so important.

          “Zero cars zero accidents, many cars, many accidents.” You’d think that wouldn’t you. It’s a perfectly reasonable assumption for a simpleton to assume. However, it is entirely possible that without access to cars travelers will resort to motorcycles which are more dangerous, or mass transit which are open to larger accidents with more deaths. You’re reasoning like a legislator not a praxiologist. Just proclaiming NO MORE GUNS does not make it so.

          “More guns will also result in more crimes, more suicides, more accidents, and so on.” I do not own a gun, and I have never owned a gun. I have no criminal or suicidal ambitions. If I bought a gun today I would still have no criminal or suicidal ambitions. If I bought 100 guns today I could still have no criminal or suicidal ambitions. You may have a point with accidents. However, praxiology (the study of willful human action) would tell you that when one’s needs may not be met in one way they will meet them in another. If you ban cars people will not abandon travel, they seek other modes. If you ban guns to avoid accidents comparing current accidents to zero accidents is thinking like a legislator. Comparing current accidents to the number of accidents caused by the improvises defensive weapons (which will include black market guns) people adopt instead is thinking like a praxiologist.

          “you obviously have a beef with those of us who would rather see strict controls in place.” I have a beef with those of you who advocate threatening my neighbor to dispossess him of his property in retaliation for crimes he hasn’t committed.

  41. WolfmanNo Gravatar says:

    end gun violence now everyone should carry one

  42. ErikaNo Gravatar says:

    Dont forget the oregon shooting which was stopped by an armed civilian. The gunman commeted suicide but after he saw another person pointing his pistol at him. 2 innocent people died, one injured. ooting/

  43. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    Not that the data isn’t interesting or illuminating, but the average is completely biased. The police data was directly pooled from things that are by definition above four (mass shootings involve 4 or more people killed), while the civilians are any case where a civilian stops someone killing strangers (and some cases where it wasn’t strangers). To be an unbiased comparison, it would have to either be every time someone who already had killed 4 people was stopped by a civilian, or include every time a police officer stopped someone with a gun who had killed someone and intended to kill more (which I imagine are far more frequent than mass shootings). That’s not to say that civilians don’t save a lot of lives, just that the comparison is bad statistical procedure.

  44. JosephNo Gravatar says:

    RE: “but he did not use his gun out of concern for innocent bystanders.”

    Actually, he drew down on someone he saw holding a gun and froze, later saying he was thankful because the person in his crosshairs was one of the people who tackled the shooter and had disarmed him.

  45. DougNo Gravatar says:

    How many mass murderers were stopped by one or more bullets striking the mass murders and fired by a civilian from the civilian’s gun?

  46. PaulNo Gravatar says:

    First a disclaimer – I’m not arguing for or against stricter gun controls.

    That being said… I may be reading it wrong, but by looking at your list, it seems that 12 of the 17 stopped by civilians were stopped by unarmed civilians.

  47. Mike P.No Gravatar says:

    Hmm I went though each of the shootings and came to slightly different numbers:

    Events/Deaths when ended by police: 14/201
    Events/Deaths when ended by Civs (unarmed): 10/31
    Events/Deaths when ended by Civs (armed): 8/27

    Giving death averages of 14.4, 3.1, and 3.4 respectively.

    This gives really interesting results. I agree with the conclusion that crimes stopped by civilians result in a lower death count. You kind of ignored the fact that the death rates for unarmed and armed civilians are nearly equal. In fact, when you take Standard deviation into account the numbers are equal within error.

    So it seems the best thing to do if you find yourself in a gunman situation is to tackle the guy or attempt to take him out. Having a gun is mathematically irrelevant.

    • Mike P.No Gravatar says:

      Here are the cases via breakdown of where I attributed each:

      Police: Unruh, Huberty, Hennard, Columbine, Barton, Tapia, Weise, Cho, Zamora, Stewart, Wong, Holmes, Page, Lanza

      Unarmed Civ: Ferguson, Rouse, Loukaitis, Carneal, Kinkel, McLaughlin, Hainstock, Bishop, Loughner, Lane

      Armed Civ: Woodham, Wurst, Odighizuwa, Arroyo, Bartley, Murray, Hasan, Parker

      Perhaps you might want to label each case where you assign classification.

      • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

        Damn, now you’ve got me scared. I’ll double check everything.

      • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

        Found one discrepancy. You’ve got Hassan as an armed civilian case, I’ve got it as a police case. I copied “Civilian Police officer” from the report to distinguish from a military officer because it was on a military base. But I see why that’s confusing. I’ll change the description.

        Still checking for others.

      • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

        Those are the only discrepancies I found. Does that account for the difference. Also, it could be argued that the guy who tackled Jared Lee Loughner should count as armed, even though we both put him as unarmed because he didn’t draw. Thoughts?

        • Mike P.No Gravatar says:

          I rearranged some things and got roughly the same numbers (for some reason I have a police total of 214 and you have 217, but the difference is negligible)

          With the numbers fixed I still find the unarmed vs. armed numbers to be within the error (If you switch Laughner over the numbers become even closer). This could be the result of limited data points, but there is enough to make some cursory conclusions.

          I’m not a psychologist but it might be possible that carrying the gun provides some sort of confidence that pushed the civilian into action? There seem to be multiple cases of a person that has a gun not using it.

          Regardless, your original point that there are less deaths when a civilian responds still stands, though it is worth mentioning that there doesn’t seem to be a difference whether that civilian has a gun.

          I’m not a statistician (merely an Astrophysicist), but you can consider your results to have been peer reviewed by at least one other scientist!

          You should consider finding a journal somewhere to publish this.

      • Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

        Also, let me just say, I greatly appreciate you checking up on me.

  48. fsteeleNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for an interesting and fair-minded analysis. I’d suggest that you add a breakdown something like this:

    Total incidents considered: T
    Number stopped by a civilian shooting a gun: G1
    Number stopped by a civilian displaying a gun: G2
    Number stopped by unarmed civilians: U
    Suicides upon approach of police (sirens etc): P1
    Shot by police or apprehended by police: P2

    • MarkNo Gravatar says:

      4 bullets and this appears to be a domestic dispute, not a mass murder attempt.

      • DarforNo Gravatar says:

        Except the person he shot wasn’t the girlfriend that he was “hunting” but an innocent bystander in the theater lobby. Thankfully, the off-duty lady cop dropped the dirt bag before he could pull his trigger more. If it wasn’t for her who knows how many more may have been shot. Sure, he may have stopped after the first guy or perhaps after he managed to shoot the girl he was chasing, but would you have waited to see if he was gong to quit? We can only speculate as to whether or not this was going to end with one or two people shot, or a mass shooting. The point of the story is that a rogue, criminal shooter was stopped before he could do more damage with the gun in his hand.

        • MarkNo Gravatar says:

          It still wasn’t a mass shooting (those are, from what I read, premeditated). He chased people to the theatre from a restaurant. This was not another Aurora. The source of the violence was a domestic dispute. A cop took him out.

          • DarforNo Gravatar says:

            I will conditionally accept your points as “probably” valid. However, once the shooter entered the theater and shot a true innocent in the back, we don’t know for sure whether or not he had “snapped” and would start shooting anybody in the vicinity — snapped like mass shooters, rampage shooters such as Lanza demonstrated. As I seem to recall he fired off a couple of wild shots in the restaurant, without hitting anyone, when he first started his “search” for his girlfriend — so he apparently wasn’t bottling his anger and hate just for his girlfriend.

            The off duty cop, while having slightly more training than the average civilian (trust me when I say they don’t receive true live fire training), was still off duty and acting in a role as simply an armed civilian. Let us agree that it was fortunate that she was there and level headed enough to end the situation with just the one victim being shot.

  49. John CookNo Gravatar says:

    This is something which I want to thank you for taking the time and energy to do. I’m surprised it wasn’t done sooner. Kudos to you Davi Barker.