Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal called for more funding for law enforcement, not a ban on guns, as an answer for keeping American kids safe in school.
During an interview with WABC’s radio show “Curtis and Cosby,” he asserted that with more money, law enforcement could recruit more people. He suggested that the officers who aren’t ready to patrol the streets be put at schools for security.
“You put ’em in front of the schools, you put ’em behind the schools, you put ’em inside the schools, and we need to pass information,” O’Neal explained. “I would like to see police officers in schools, inner cities, private schools.”
O’Neal pointed to his own childhood as an example of the necessity of security. While growing up on a military base, there was always military police in front of and behind his school.
Since the shooting in Parkland, Florida, which occurred not far from O’Neal’s home in Fort Lauderdale, many have called for a ban on semi-automatic firearms similar to the AR-15 used by suspect Nikolas Cruz.
However, O’Neal noted that there are already 15 million weapons on the streets, so it isn’t realistic to expect people are going to turn them in even if there’s a ban.
“’Cause once you ban ’em, now they’re going to become a collector’s item, and you’re going to have people underground, and they were $2,000 … I’ll give you $9,000 for that gun,” he explained. “So, you know, we just need to keep our eyes open.”
O’Neal said the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting was close to his heart and that he supports the students marching for increased gun control. Despite believing a weapons ban isn’t the answer, O’Neal declared that “we have to stop this” and advocated for tougher background checks.
“If you can’t protect our children in school, where are they safe?” he asked.
Shaq has previously described his ambition to run for sheriff in an effort to bring positive change to communities since he can “speak the language on both sides.” As sheriff, he would like to bring back the times when “the local cop was a hero.”