McDonough, GA – Former National Basketball Association star Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal said the country needed to put more police inside of schools rather than banning guns.
Shaq, who has said he wanted to run for sheriff in the Atlanta area, made his comments on a radio show March 14, at the same time National Walkout Day was happening at high schools across the nation in protest of gun violence.
The basketball analyst said he supported the students who protested across the country, but was opposed to a ban on AR-15s, the weapon used in the Parkland school shootings, according to the Washington Post.
“It’s 2018 … something has to be done,” Shaq said on WABC’s “Curtis and Cosby” show, according to the Washington Post. “You hear a lot of people talk about getting these guns off the streets, the only problem with that is there’s 15 million of them already on the streets. And then another problem is, if you ban them, then you’re going to create an underground market, and [to] the gun collectors it’s going to become more valuable.”
Shaq said “the quick fix now” for the problem of school shootings was for “the government” to “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,” Shaq said. “You put ’em in front of the schools, you put ’em behind the schools, you put ’em inside the schools.”
Shaq has previously graduated the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s reserve academy, he then became a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police Department. In 2005, he was made an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshall and given an honorary role in a task force that tracks down sexual predators. He also spent time volunteering with the Tempe Police Department.
Later in 2005, Shaq became a Miami Beach reserve officer. In 2006, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio appointed Shaq as a “Captain” of his posse as a “special deputy.” Sheriff Joe later revoked Shaq’s status and demanded a return of his badges after the basketball star was in a rap video using inappropriate language.
In 2015 he was sworn in as a reserve police officer in Doral, Florida, and in December 2016, he was sworn in as a sheriff’s deputy in Clayton County, Georgia.
Outside of his experience with law enforcement, he continued to serve law enforcement by buying a Krispy Kreme in downtown Atlanta to prevent it from being shut down.