Alec Baldwin urged film and television productions to hire police officers to monitor guns and ensure the safety of guns used in filming in the wake of the fatal shooting during the filming of the western movie Rust.
Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halina Hutchins on October 21 after telling him that the gun he was training with in the film shot in New Mexico was “cold” or safe to use, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
“Every movie/TV set that uses guns, fake or otherwise, must have a police officer on set, assigned by production, to specifically monitor gun safety,” the actor posted on Twitter on Monday. The account has since been made private, but the message has also been placed on the actor’s Instagram account.
Authorities are trying to determine how a real bullet could have ended up in the gun that was delivered to Baldwin. Lawyers for Hana Gutierrez Reed, the Rust gun maker who oversaw the guns on the group, said she believed she loaded them with dummy shells that were unable to fire. They said it did its best to ensure safety at the site and blamed other factors as a result of the “production batch becoming unsafe”.
The incident renewed calls for better safety practices on groups regarding the use of weapons, and producers and crew members were considering whether new steps should be taken to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.
Some have called for real guns to be banned from movies and television altogether.
Actor Dwayne Johnson said his future productions will only use rubber pistols during filming.
A day after the shooting, Baldwin spoke of his “shock and sadness over the accident that killed Halina Hutchins, wife, mother, and a deeply admirable colleague of ours.”
I am fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in contact with her husband, offering him my support and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, son, and everyone who knew and loved Halina.”
The gun Baldwin used was one of three that the gunsmith had placed on a cart outside the building where the scene was being rehearsed, according to court records.
Court papers said the film’s assistant director, Dave Holz, took a gun out of a wagon and handed it to Baldwin, noting that the gun was safe by shouting a “cold pistol.” But, unknown to Halls, he was loaded with live ammunition, according to records.
Written affidavits were later released that paint a picture of a dysfunctional and conflicting group, as five crew members were reportedly discharged due to wages and working conditions a few hours before the fatal shooting occurred.
Lawyers representing the crew member responsible for the guns blamed the producers for an “unsafe” group. It was also later revealed that Halls had been the subject of an internal complaint about a previous film. Maggie Goll, the prop maker and licensed pyrotechnic expert, said she raised concerns about Hall’s conduct in connection with safety issues that were placed with the executive producers of Hulu’s Into the Dark TV series in 2019. He has not yet commented and has a counselor.
According to an additional affidavit issued last month, Holz admitted to investigators that he “should have checked all” of the gun’s rounds before handing them over to Baldwin, who was also the film’s producer, but he did not.
However, Gul was quick to clarify that she did not think the situation was about Halls. “It’s by no means one person’s fault,” she said, adding that there were bigger issues related to crew welfare that needed to be addressed. “It’s a bigger conversation about safety on set and what we’re trying to achieve with this culture.”
The shooting has increased public scrutiny in an often overlooked corner of the film industry where critics say the pursuit of profit can lead to unsafe working conditions.