Lack of gun safety killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin's 'Rust.' How did this happen?

'Whoever handed the loaded gun to Alec Baldwin should be held responsible to some level.'

10/23/2021 7:48:00 AM

Lack of gun safety killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin's 'Rust.' How did this happen?

'Whoever handed the loaded gun to Alec Baldwin should be held responsible to some level.'

on the set of the movie “Rust.” It begs the question: How could this happen?While it is unclear what type of gun was used in the accident, a deeper look into how the firearms used onscreen by characters are handled safely by actors, prop masters and weapons specialists on film and TV productions offers some clues.

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Depending on the project’s budget, time constraints and narrative needs, gun use onscreen is depicted in numerous ways. Non-operational replicas — made of wood, plastic or rubber — are regularly used for scenes filmed at a distance. For closer-range frames, gunfire can be mimicked with the use of Airsoft guns, said a person familiar with handling props and weapons on sets. Visual and sound effects like muzzle flashes, flying shell casings and loud gunfire pops can be added in postproduction.

“There is no fathomable reason to use blanks anymore when it costs like 50 cents to add gunfire in post and even less reason to use them during a day scene where there is little to no interactive light,” Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison said in an Instagram Story post. “If you don’t have enough funding to make a film safely, you shouldn’t be making it. No shot, no scene, and no movie is worth the loss of life.”

AdvertisementHalyna Hutchins was killed on the set of ‘Rust’ by a prop gun. Our developing coverageCinematographer Halyna Hutchins, one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars, was killed on the set of ‘Rust.’ Here’s everything we know so far.Still, productions regularly use operational firearms, arguably to add realism to the scene and authenticity to an actor’s performance. When an operational firearm is used on set, a licensed armorer or a prop master is responsible for monitoring every step of its use: loading and unloading the weapon, checking the barrel to avoid any issue with materials left inside after every take, showing its status to actors and assistant directors, instructing actors on its proper use — the latter to maintain the story’s realism as well as everyone’s safety.

Additionally, the armorer or a stunt coordinator choreographs gunfire action sequences, works with the cinematographer to determine which camera angles will minimize risk of injury and ensures that no cast or crew member is in a firing lane, or the path of the weapon, when it is fired, said Michael Lubke, a fight director and stunt coordinator for theater and movies. Anyone in close range usually is required to wear protective items such as shields or safety glasses when the cameras are rolling. “No human should ever be in the firing lane,” Lubke said.

The systems currently in place work well when followed. “Absent some sort of defect on the gun itself or the cartridge misfiring or something like that, there is literally no way this can happen if the people in charge are following safety protocols that have been drafted and in effect for years related to firearms on a set,” said Jeff Harris, an attorney who has represented the families of people who have died on film and TV sets.

“The problem is when people get complacent and don’t follow the systems, then that’s when we have these accidents on movie sets,” he continued. “It’s just unfortunate that we have to have these kinds of things occur before people really say. ‘You know what, we’ve got to follow these written policies and we have to do it to a T. Otherwise, one mistake, somebody dies.’”

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Some people in the prop industry said they would prefer that trained firearms specialists be required on all sets with any kind of potentially dangerous weapon, as prop-handling union members also must oversee all the other props in the production. Others would like to see increased safety requirements for California state permits to rent prop guns, saying all that is needed to do so is a background check.

“To add a layer of training and certification in there would not be a terrible thing,” said Kevin Williams, prop department supervisor at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, who has no direct knowledge of the incident. “Guns are sort of mysterious to a lot of people, and sometimes your job requires you to work with things that you don’t know. Personally, when I’m out of my depth, I call in experts.”

New Mexico’s Bonanza Creek Ranch, where a fatal on-set shooting occurred Thursday, is a longtime favorite location for westerns.(Sam Wasson/Getty Images)The fatal incident took place on the 12th day of “Rust’s” 21-day New Mexico shoot, which was staffed with an armorer.

The Times reportedthat the industry’s safety protocols, including gun inspections, were not strictly followed on set, and multiple misfires involving prop guns had previously occurred. Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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Baldwin has enough firearm experience to know not to EVER pull a trigger with a gun pointed directly at another person. That is the key cause of Ms Hutchin's death! Many other serious violations of safety protocols, but that one is why she's dead. If AlecBaldwin was black, he would be in jail already.

All involved should be held accountable. And the other 'some...'? I’m drawing a blank on this. Did he? *gun. A prop gun doesn’t fire live ammunition. Guns do that. A simple but incredibly important distinction to make. thanks Wrong. Lack of union props people did. It’s outrageous that this should happen! This isn’t just an “accident”…this is negligent homicide…

Cole707resident You get what you pay for. Everybody is so sorry after the tragedy. Prevention is the actionable path. Now that we know the term “live round” is used on set for anything from blank to bullet, I wish someone would say what exactly was loaded into the gun, who was positioned where, etc. LAcrimes we’re waiting !

Alec Baldwin Fired Prop Gun That Killed Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Injured DirectorAlec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a set in New Mexico on Thursday, accidentally killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. The incident occurred on the set of “R… Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed in an incident involving a prop gun on the set of “Rust,” an Alec Baldwin film that was shooting in New Mexico on Thursday. the irony remains, the guy used to call Trump a murderer, but he became a This is so sad — poor woman lost her light. Poor Alec has to live with this 😌😌😌😌😌😌🥺

LAcrimes Richard Winton is the only reporter who gave a clear and comprehensive explanation of this subject. Thank you. Less people die with CGI. Ask an Avenger. Cutting corners, that’s always how disasters happen on a film set. This sort of thing is exactly why film workers voted to authorize a strike. Tired, overworked people make mistakes. If they resist they are replaced with people less qualified, but willing, who don’t know better.

Descanse em paz com Deus 🥰🙏🙏🙏🙏💥💥💥💥 Lack of gun safety. Lack of gun safety?Are you really asking how did this happen? Really! How about an idiot with a gun killed her!!! You NEVER point a gun at anyone whether it’s real or fake - much less pull the trigger - NEVER FFS, we had a safety meeting for every.single.critter we wrangled on every set when I ran a Teamsters Union member animal company for film and TV. From Bats to Frogs, Horses to Dogs. We are required to know the rules (a huge book from American Humane Assoc). UnionStrong

So sad. More like lack of common sense ! I have preached for years. There are people out there I wouldn't trust with a cap pistol from Wallmart! Why was there a 1) real, 2) loaded, gun on a film set? We can create avatars & holograms but we can't create a fake gun?

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Dies at 42 After Prop Gun Incident on Alec Baldwin FilmThe Ukrainian-born, Los Angeles-based director of photography's credits include the indie films 'Archenemy,' 'Blindfire' and 'The Mad Hatter.' Many in the industry are saying the gun was not a prop by definition.. and that it was a real gun with planks 👀 This should have been avoided and could have been which is very frustrating. My prayers go out to her friends and family. No more realistic guns with real looking gunfire shots from blanks on set. It doesn't have to look 100% real, just make it look real enough with a dummy airsoft gun with vfx for the gunfire, safety is far more important than absolute realism. Rest In Peace

Tragic Being cheap. Not having a standard certification for prop masters or firearms 'experts'. Shooters not being more knowledgeable about weapons. Oh look. Politicalization of everything aka thanks A disaster. Exploitation of workers. Ya don't say......

Tributes pour in for Halyna Hutchins after crew member is killed by Alec BaldwinCinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot dead by Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust on Thursday when the actor fired a prop gun he reportedly didn't know had live rounds in

Who was Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography shot in accident involving Alec Baldwin?The film industry has been left shocked and in mourning after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed on set when actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm. We don't walk around like that with a gun, the information reported is incomplete It's the responsibility of the gun holder to ensure the gun is unloaded. Period. This is horrible.

Alec Baldwin shooting victim Halyna Hutchins' haunting last post from Rust setAlec Baldwin accidentally shot Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography, on the film set of Rust

Halyna Hutchins tributes flood in for cinematographer after Alec Baldwin prop gun incidentStars take to social media to react to the news that director of photography Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of the new movie 'Rust' after actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm. Read more: