New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton spoke to the media Monday for the first time since former Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot and killed in New Orleans Saturday night. Payton had a message both for the state of Louisiana and for the country: He wants more gun control.
"I’m not an extreme liberal," Payton told USA Today. "I find myself leaning to the right on some issues. But on this issue, I can’t wrap my brain around it.
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"I’ve heard people argue that everybody needs a gun. That’s madness. I know there are many kids who grow up in a hunting environment. I get that. But there are places, like England, where even the cops don’t have guns."
Payton told USA Today that he believes violence in New Orleans is so bad that "it’s like the Wild, Wild West here."
He also told the outlet that he went to the scene of the shooting — which was about eight blocks from his home — early Sunday morning and spent hours at the hospital where Smith’s wife, Racquel, had surgery on injuries she suffered in the shooting. Payton said he then went on the Internet to learn more about the type of gun used to kill Smith.
"It was a large caliber gun. A .45," Payton told USA Today. "It was designed back during World War I. And this thing just stops people. It will kill someone within four or five seconds after they are struck. You bleed out. …
"We could go online and get 10 of them, and have them shipped to our house tomorrow. I don’t believe that was the intention when they allowed for the right for citizens to bear arms."
Smith, a 34-year-old father of three, was supposed to join the Saints coaching staff as an intern in the coming weeks. He retired from playing in 2014.