New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton returned home from a local charity event on Saturday night when he heard the news that his former player, Will Smith, was shot to death following a traffic accident.
Payton couldn't sleep after hearing the tragic news. He drove over to the crime scene to see it for himself. He then researched the type of firearm used in Smith's death. It was a .45-caliber gun.
"We could go online and get 10 of them, and have them shipped to our house tomorrow," Payton said in an interview with USA Today. "I don't believe that was the intention when they allowed for the right for citizens to bear arms."
Filled with the emotion of losing his former defensive end to gun violence, Payton did not shy from his opinion of firearms. "I hate guns," he told USA Today.
Payton has seen the impact of rampant gun violence in the state where the Saints play. Between 2004 and 2013, Louisiana had the most overall gun deaths per capita and the most gun homicides per capita of any state. More than half of the gun deaths were homicides, and more than 30 percent of those homicides were in New Orleans. In fact, 90 percent of murders in New Orleans are gun-related.
This prolific gun violence might stem from Louisiana's negligent gun laws. In Louisiana, gun dealers are exempt from obtaining a state license, gun owners can buy as many firearms they want at any time, and municipalities are forbidden from enacting their own regulations.
Or as Payton called it, "it's like the wild, wild west here."
Payton beautifully summed up his views on our society's gun culture.
"Two hundred years from now, they're going to look back and say, 'What was that madness about?' " Payton told 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 on to. 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."
In the past year, other sports figureheads have also address gun violence in the U.S.
Cover via Handout / Getty Images