Payton even said, “I hate guns,” at one point during the interview with USA Today Sports. The Saints coach described himself as “leaning to the right on some issues,” but emphatically stressed that he is not in favor of the current gun laws in the United States, specifically in Louisiana.
“I’ve heard people argue that everybody needs a gun,” Payton said. “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, who lives in New Orleans’ Garden District, also railed against the overall violence in the city, saying “our city is broken.”
Smith, 34, was killed Saturday after being involved in a minor traffic accident in New Orleans. Police have arrested Cardell Hayes, 28, and charged him with second-degree murder.
Police said Smith and Hayes argued after Smith’s Mercedes was rear-ended by Hayes’ Humvee. According to police, Hayes shot Smith and his wife, Racquel, who was taken to a hospital with a leg wound.
Payton, who was Smith’s coach with the Saints from 2006 to 2013, went to the accident scene early Saturday morning and also joined Smith’s family at the hospital. He told USA Today Sports that he researched the handgun that Hayes allegedly used to shoot Smith and his wife, saying “this thing just stops people.”
“It was a large caliber gun. A .45,” Payton told USA Today Sports. “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. After the first shot, he took three more in his back. … 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.”
Payton, 52, has been the Saints’ head coach since 2006 and has lived in various New Orleans communities ever since. He lamented recent budget reductions in the city’s law enforcement but also cited extensive gun violence in New Orleans’ less affluent areas.
“We don’t hear this noise when something happens in New Orleans East, or in the Lower 9,” he said. “Now you creep into the Garden District … I just know this: Our city is broken.”