Sean Payton on Will Smith death: ‘I hate guns’

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One of Sean Payton’s toughest moments in New Orleans came Saturday when he learned that his former captain was shot to death, only eight blocks from Payton’s home.

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Payton, who has lived in the city for 10 years, wanted to send a message about gun control and New Orleans in the wake of the tragedy.

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“Two hundred years from now, they’re going to look back and say, ‘What was that madness about?’ ” Payton told Jarrett Bell and USA Today. “The idea that we need them to fend off intruders … people are more apt to draw them (in other situations). That’s some silly stuff we’re hanging onto.”

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It’s an issue Payton feels passionately about.

“I hate guns. … 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 said.

Payton, who revealed that Smith was set to re-join the organization as a coaching intern, was unable to sleep after hearing about Smith’s death and wound up driving to the site of the shooting at 5:45 a.m. He did research on the .45 large caliber gun that killed Smith.

“We could go online and get chinese football jerseys 10 of them, and have them shipped to our house tomorrow,” Payton said. “I don’t believe that was the intention when they allowed for the right for citizens to bear arms.”

The entire interview is well worth a read, but it’s clear that Payton is hurting and passionate about the issue and a city that he loves. He says New Orleans is “broken,” comments that are similar to what said on NFL Network Monday.

“It’s like our big little secret,” Payton said. “They don’t want to kill tourism. But right now, it’s like the Wild, Wild West here.”

It’s rare to hear a coach speak out like this, but the tragic events of this week have sadly been too common in New Orleans.

“If this opinion in Louisiana is super unpopular, so be it,” Payton said.