Report: Saints' Payton expresses frustration with gun laws
NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is angered over the nation's gun laws and derides as ''madness'' the idea that everybody needs a gun.
''I hate guns,'' he said in an interview with USA Today Sports.
Payton spoke following the shooting death of Will Smith, a 34-year-old former Saints defensive lineman. He was killed Saturday night after an argument following a traffic accident in New Orleans.
Payton said he drove to the scene of the shooting at 5:45 a.m. Sunday because he was unable to sleep. The coach said he's not an ''extreme liberal'' and often will ''find myself leaning to the right on some issues. But on this issue, I can't wrap my brain around it.''
Payton understood that his opinion might be unpopular, but he wanted to speak out.
''I've heard people argue that everybody needs a gun,'' he told the newspaper. ''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.''
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that since Smith's death is still under investigation, it's unclear if tighter gun laws could have prevented the shooting.
But he did say Smith's death showed that gun violence is ''too common in our society.''
''We can't prevent every act of violence from occurring but we can certainly take some common sense steps that would reduce gun violence that don't undermine the constitutional rights of law abiding Americans,'' Earnest said. President Barack Obama ''believes strongly that those measures should be taken and he's going to continue to advocate for them.''
Payton said he spent much of Sunday at the hospital with Smith's family while Smith's wife, Racquel, underwent surgery. She was shot and injured while with her husband.
Later in the day, the coach went online and researched the gun used in the shooting.
''We could go online and get 10 of them, and have them shipped to our house tomorrow,'' he said. ''I don't believe that was the intention when they allowed for the right for citizens to bear arms.''
The Saints announced the team will host a public visitation on Friday afternoon at the team's indoor practice facility in Metairie, Louisiana. The team said a private funeral and burial service will be on Saturday.