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More calls to ban live guns on US sets, investigation continues.

US authorities have collected 3 firearms & 500 rounds of ammunition from Rust, but no charges have been laid.

Hollywood continues to grapple with its use of weapons on set following the tragic death on the set of the movie, Rust.

US authorities have been continuing investigations following the shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins but are yet to lay any charges.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told a news conference while no charges have been filed, they are not ruling out that possibility.

Mendoza said that authorities had collected 600 pieces of evidence including three firearms, 500 rounds of ammunition and several pieces of clothing and accessories in the ongoing investigation, with some evidence being sent to an FBI crime lab in Virginia for analysis.

Mendoza said the gun was an F Lli Pietta Long Colt revolver.

“It’s a suspected live round that was fired, but it did fire from the weapon and it did cause injury. That would lead us to believe it was a live round,” he said.

The investigation, however, could take several more months.

“If the facts and evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time,” Carmack-Altwies said. “I do not make rash decisions and cannot rush to judgment. I cannot stress the importance of allowing the Santa Fe sheriff’s office to continue with their investigation, which is both serious and complex.”

She added, “All options are on the table at this point. I’m not commenting on charges [or] on if they will be filed or not, and [against] who. No one has been ruled out at this point.”

Meanwhile a Change.org petition to ban real guns from movie and TV productions has nearly 70,000 signatures. California state senator Dave Cortese says he plans to introduce legislation to officially ban real firearms and live ammunition from all productions, and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said her state would take similar action should the entertainment industry not adopt such a ban voluntarily.

Experts maintain that real guns are also not necessary on set.

American Horror Story‘s Leslie Grossman estimates she’s been called upon to shoot a gun “several times.”

“They’re never real guns,” she says. “Nine times out of 10, I’m using a rubber gun.” When the scene does call for a more dramatic close-up of a gun firing with a physical recoil, Grossman says she usually shoots an air gun instead, with effects added in post-production to enhance authenticity. On the most recent season, American Horror Story: Double Feature, Grossman recalls only using rubber guns, even while shooting them.

“I even said, ‘Wait, is this gonna look super fake?’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, we can fix anything later to make it look super real.’ And they did, and it looked really real,” she said.

Source: The Age, Hollywood Reporter, Variety

5 Responses

  1. There will be a number of factors that caused this tragedy, as is usually the case when something goes drastically wrong. One factor is likely to be that, as a Wild West type film, the period weapons used are much less ‘safe’ than more modern types. The reproduction Colt single action revolver (the Colt 1873 Peacemaker) used in the accident has no safety catch or grip safety and the hammer could set off a round from a hard knock or being dropped on a hard surface or slipping from being partially cocked by accident. It’s also harder and slower to check the loading status of the pistol. Very unlikely that Alec Baldwin would face criminal charges for the shooting, but he well could face charges and legal action as the producer responsible for overall organization for the film.

    1. One article I saw alleged that Alec Baldwin was rehearsing drawing his weapon across his chest in front of the camera, a witness heard a whoosh sound (the gun being drawn?) before the gun fired. I believe there were only three rounds loaded in the gun.
      The question is; why was blanks used for a rehearsal unless it was assumed the gun was loaded with dummy rounds for visual effect.

      1. One of few “facts” released so from media who got a look at the warrant, was for the gun Baldwin was using which he said he was told was cold. For a revolver that would be loaded with dummy rounds so as not be obviously unloaded. The allegation that real bullets were on set, and got mixed up with blank or dummy rounds is troubling and would indicate a serious breakdown in safety procedures. But so far as the Police say it is only suspected and no ballistics or forensics have been completed yet.

        Other experts have stated that shows like The Rookie and SEAL Team are only able to produce realistic fire-fights because they use real weapons firing blanks to maintain the Suspension Of Disbelief. The answer would depend on whether you an expert armourer or an expert in FX and CGI.

  2. There has been some comment in newspapers today about armourer Hanna Guttierrez Reed who questioned her own abilities to run firearms on a movie set in a recent podcast. Assistant director Dave Halls was apparently sacked from another film set he worked on because of a firearms misfire accident that caused a hand injury to staff. It seems that allegedly the Rust movie was cost cutting and rushing production schedules which added further pressure onto the production staff. One live round was allegedly found in a box that contained blanks and dummy rounds. Actor Ian Hudson has had a lot to say about the risky atmosphere on set whilst using guns in firefights but thought the armourer ‘ was doing a great job’ considering the tight schedule and that she was praised for her safety on set by the director.

  3. I think a review of measures and maybe industry wide standards around safe use of prop weapons is needed. The US at times can be cowboy in certain standards or regulations due to how their laws work compared to other jurisdictions

    Banning something that mostly causes very very low harm in the bulk of current and former productions is overreach at the moment, any workplace incident or death is tragic but it’s not systemic or greatly prevalent from a prop weapon perspective.

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