Man detained at Missouri Walmart for carrying rifle and wearing body armor

Former Acting DHS Undersecretary John Cohen talks about the fear instilled in Americans as "people don't have enough confidence that their government is doing enough to protect them."
6:41 | 08/09/19

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Transcript for Man detained at Missouri Walmart for carrying rifle and wearing body armor
On a bring in ABC news law enforcement contributor John Cohen formally of the Department of Homeland Security. There to talk a little bit more about BP the end of this incredible. Week in an incredibly difficult week John let's start with what the president was talking about background checks. And red flag laws how important are these pieces of potential legislation. Well they're important. Not the magic solution. In you know putting in place. Not only me a lot of but he information sharing and other operational capabilities. That allow us to prevent people who represented a danger to themselves or others from. From acquiring or possessing firearms are where NASA wrath Bob this is a process in which law enforcement and mental health professionals work the courts. That when somebody like Anna Ohio State into the community. Hey there access to firearms their ability to buy prior to be temporary restricted so these are. Import partners who ought potentially. That can help local communities prevent these types of attacks. But at the east accident themselves. Will not stop massacres and her detractors Exel like the ones we've just experienced no. Dayton they you've been preaching for a long time the need to go beyond the criminal law elements here to to do a little bit more and we learned that. There might have been some flags at least in in Dayton and and lists of that he may have made in high school. But either were or were not heated and whether that was predictive of anything police weren't sure but. What have we learned based on the last couple of mass shootings that might be useful going forward. Lara over the past four years has been a lot of work on an FBI and law enforcement and mental health community educators say they later. And we are pretty good understanding. You behavioral characteristics of the people who are committing these types of attacks. Got a pretty good understanding of the taxes the they're going to exhibit. Prior to. Going into location and shooting people so they challenged it to educate Apollo. So that when they see the warning signs. I think you know the economy call local authorities and add up the case that you just described. Illustrates it's not just having somebody seeing something and saying something its training those people taking the call taking that information. To ask her questions to begin acquiring the right information. So that can be used to assess whether a person who's exhibiting behavior code is a rest. And it videos arrest. Local communities need a happy resource that is in place to take steps to prevent an attack our current. They it is any good news is that there are growing number of local jurisdictions. Who had made putting those types of capabilities and Placer prior art. And there are examples of wrong number example where potential attacks or stop because of the efforts of global community and local authorities. There's certainly a great deal of awareness especially at the end of this tough week and we just had a fresh example of how on edge of the country is in Springfield Missouri. 120 year old dressed like GI Joseph walked into a Wal-Mart. And retired firefighter and it up subduing him no shots fired police were eventually able to two to go in there and arrest him based on. Me a charge of making a terrorist threat. But what does this tell us about the state of affairs in this country John. I think people are scared and receiver courts. People reacting to cars and motorcycles and and and flinging. You know and a neighborhood need or hear people. You know I'm shopping malls or other places adherence out loud sounds and when people are scared I think what it also were class. Is that people do not have confidence that our government is doing enough to protect. And you know winning when people believe they're not say when they go to the mall when he goes to. Store for cares what that. For school to two to go to a house of worship and crash. When they don't know there's a and I think government is really dropping the ball I'm doing what it should be doing in order to protect Apollo. John is that skepticism. Of of the government effort warranted we've seen the Department of Homeland Security your former agency. Just this week focused a lot on on border issues and immigration which they continue to call. A humanitarian crisis we have the largest ever immigration raids. In Mississippi. Howell. And that's a great question. You know I think what happened this week is actually good illustration. The challenge facing the department of homeland security and Graham crackers challenge facing this administration or cry like. For two and half three years we have heard from this administration to her rather that primary threat facing United States today comes from people who are seeking to immigrate here whether legally or illegally. They have not disclose their rhetoric on that issue but they focused their resource so. Finding another resource worry that could have been applied to healing what press like domestic terrorism. Or reduced and instead focused on issued a sincere immigration enforcement. And imports a carrier and he needs her class and yes somebody who wanted to pop music and Department of Homeland Security. That I'm the same week. Or in the week following two mass shootings. I individuals who were potentially inspired by extremist ideology. Com you know that we would do it workplace enforcement rate of this magnitude. Workplace enforcement by its very nature is going after low risk people these are people who are here this country are working. They're probably hang. Taxes or contributing editor. Communities and there are typically not criminals so we are taking its limited enforcement resources from I. We are and we are climbing to go after people who essentially pose no rest. And to me you know. At particularly in the we got her out passes and he. At a time period where the Department of Homeland Security has been. Recent real concerns that they do not have enough resources that you would increase of people aside importer and time recap. Far more important brass. For the department to carry out array of this magnitude at this time is a best time that. But probably 88. Represented poor Jack operational decision making us. Jon Cohen formally the Department of Homeland Security now and ABC news contributor and his law enforcement matters.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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