Sean Payton, the Irish American New Orleans Saints coach, is a hero in New Orleans as the coach who won the Super Bowl for the football crazy Louisiana city back in 2009.
Now he’s a hero to many in another way by coming out so strongly against guns after one of his former star players, Will Smith, was gunned down in a road rage incident by a man who had been arrested in 2010 for alleged possession of an illegal weapon. The attacker, Cardell Haynes, 28, also shot Smith's wife in the leg.
The New Orleans coach, baptized Patrick Sean Payton, a Chicago area native, is named after the Irish Catholic priest, Fr. Patrick Peyton, known as the famous "Rosary priest."
Payton spoke passionately to USA Today about non-existent gun laws, something he strongly disagrees with.
“Two hundred years from now, they're going to look back and say, ‘What was that madness about?'" Payton told USA Today.com's Jarrett Bell in a phone interview. “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."
“It was a large caliber gun. A .45,” Payton said. “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 (that struck Smith's torso), he took three more in his back.
“We could go online and get 10 of them, and have them shipped to our house tomorrow,” he continued. “I don't believe that was the intention when they allowed for the right for citizens to bear arms.”
Payton says there is a racism issue depending where people are shot in the city which has a notoriously controversial police force. “We don't hear this noise when something happens in New Orleans East, or in the Lower 9,” he said, referring to predominantly African-American communities. “Now you creep into the Garden District … I just know this: Our city is broken ..."
“It's like our big little secret. They don't want to kill tourism. But right now, it's like the Wild, Wild West here.”
Payton, who described Smith as "lov[ing] this city" and having "such a presence about him," defended his views on guns. “If this opinion in Louisiana is super unpopular, so be it," he said, "... I hate guns."
Do you agree with Sean Payton? Should guns be banned? Have your say, below.