Shaquille O’Neal says that having armed police officers on school campuses, is a better way to protect students than passing stricter gun laws.
During an interview with WABC in New York City, the former NBA star weighed in on the gun rights debate, which has been reignited since a former student with a history of mental health issues shot and killed 17 people at a Florida high school.
“The government should give law enforcement more money,” O’Neal said in the interview. “Give more money, you recruit more people, and the guys that are not ready to go on the streets, you put them in front of the schools.
“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 said. “I would like to see police officers in schools, inner cities, private schools.”
The Hill reported:
O’Neal has plans to run for sheriff in Georgia in 2020. A long-time advocate for law enforcement, he has been named an honorary reserve officer by police departments around the country after completing an unofficial police academy program in 2016, according to ESPN.
In the interview, O’Neal added that he doesn’t believe a ban on semi-automatic weapons will reduce the number of those guns already on the streets.
“There’s a lot of those weapons already on the streets,” O’Neal said. “So it’s not like, if you say, ‘OK, these weapons are banned,’ people are gonna go, ‘Oh man, let me turn it in.’ That’s definitely not going to happen.”
O’Neal said he supported the National School Walkout protest held across the country on Wednesday, even if the protesters were calling for the kind of gun restrictions he doesn’t think will work.
“O’Neal said he supports stricter background checks, one reform floated since the shooting,” the Hill reported.
“I wish I could join ’em, but you know, hopefully, it sends a message to the powers that be,” O’Neal said. “‘Cause we have to stop this.”
O’Neal — or ‘Shaq’ to his fans — is considered one of the best NBA players of all time, and now works as an analyst with Inside the NBA on TNT.