Merrick Garland Says Mass Shootings Are Hard to Prevent Because DOJ ‘Can’t Just Troll the Internet’ Monitoring Potential Threats (Video)

·2-min read

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and elsewhere, gun reform continues to be a constant point of debate in the U.S., many are now advocating for red flag laws. But, in an interview with NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland admitted that flagging signs of violence can be a bit hard for the DOJ.

Though the interview was largely about the ongoing investigations into former president Donald Trump and others surrounding the events of Jan. 6, Holt pressed Garland on what could possibly be done to root out violent extremists before they get the chance to commit a heinous act. “How do you intercept those people before they shoot?” he posed.

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For Garland, there is no simple answer, largely because Americans are guaranteed the right to free speech. As such, not all social media posts can be investigated immediately.

“This is the most difficult question in a democracy,” Garland said. “You know, we have to respect the First Amendment, we can’t just troll the internet looking [at] what everybody in the country is doing. But we have joint terrorism task forces, which evaluate both foreign and domestic terrorists and domestic violent extremists, including racially motivated violent extremists.”

Still, Holt pressed Garland further, noting that it’s continually “so frustrating” when mass shootings happen, and social media posts from the shooters are released, showing “the ticking time-bomb that was.”

In response to that, Garland admitted it is “worrisome,” but focused more on the danger of the weapons themselves, and how easily they can be modified.

“This is an incredibly worrisome thing,” Garland said. “And we just saw here in Martinsburg, [West Virginia,] it’s the risk that these very cheap devices that can be made at home, that can transform a semi-automatic rifle or a semi-automatic pistol into an automatic [weapon].”

You can watch Holt’s full interview with Garland – in which he also maintained he’s not ruling out prosecuting Trump for his actions surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection – in the video above.

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