NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t believe banning firearms is the correct response to ending gun violence, but instead thinks police officers need to be stationed in and around America’s schools.
“You’ve got a lot of people talking about getting these guns off the streets,” O’Neal told WABC’s Rita Cosby of the “Curtis and Cosby Show” in an interview that aired Tuesday. “The only problem with that is, there's 15 million of them out there already on the streets. And then another problem is if you ban them, then you’re going to create an underground market, and the gun collectors, you know, it’s going to become more valuable.”
O’Neal stressed action needs to be taken in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. The NBA star, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, said the incident hit close to home for him for him, as he knows Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
But O'Neal said he believes the federal government should allocate more money to law enforcement to train and place officers at schools, and called for tougher background checks.
“The government should give law enforcement more money. 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,” he said. “You put them in front of the schools, you put them behind the schools, you put them inside the schools.”
O’Neal also lamented the failures of law enforcement, including the FBI, which failed to follow proper protocols after receiving a tip about Nikolas Cruz, the gunman in the shooting in Parkland that left 17 dead.
“Everybody should have passed that on,” he said. “I think sometimes we need to be proactive instead of reactive.”
O’Neal also praised the students who are organizing the March for Our Lives, which will take place next week.
“I’m glad the people, the children are going to march on the 24th. I wish I could join them, but you know, hopefully it sends a message to the powers that be because we have to stop this,” he said.