Shaquille O'Neal backs more cops in schools, not gun bans

As students around the U.S. participated in walkouts Wednesday morning to protest gun violence, former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal suggested more police officers in schools would help stop future tragedies.

The walkouts come on the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead.

O'Neal, who has a long history with law enforcement and plans to run for sheriff of Henry County in Georgia in 2020, says he's against banning guns, however.

"The government should give law enforcement more money," Shaq said on the "Curtis and Cosby" radio show on Wednesday, per ESPN. "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. ... I would like to see police officers in schools, inner cities, private schools."

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But when it comes to guns, Shaq said there are just too many on the streets already to make banning them an option.

"There's a lot of those weapons already on the streets," he 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.

"'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. So, you know, we just need to keep our eyes open."

Students from some 3,000 schools in the U.S. were expected to take part in Wednesday's walkout at 10 a.m. local time and lasting for 17 minutes, in honor of the Parkland victims.

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--Field Level Media