NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal wants to see schools hardened with police officers — funded by the federal government — to keep America's children safe.
During an interview on WABC Radio's "Curtis and Cosby" show Tuesday, O'Neal told Rita Cosby that banning certain types of weapons would not have much of an impact on stopping the gun violence epidemic because millions of guns are already on the streets.
"Two things that I've never mixed are children and guns," O'Neal said of last month's mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 14 children and three adults dead. "That was a very, very sad incident. Close to my heart. I actually live in Fort Lauderdale. I actually knew the sheriff, called him and told him he did a wonderful job.
"A lot of people talk about getting these guns off the streets, the only problem with that is there's 15 million of them out there already on the streets."
O'Neal retired from the NBA in 2011 and has served as a reserve police officer at multiple departments across the country, including Miami Beach. He said the government needs to step up by throwing more money at police departments so they can hire more officers to protect schools.
"I think the quick fix now [is] the government should give law enforcement more money," he said. "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."
The 7-foot-1 O'Neal also wants to see stronger background checks instituted for gun purchases and more communication between law enforcement agencies and schools.
"I think sometimes we need to be proactive instead of reactive," he said.
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