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Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ Under Fire for Gun-Safety Violations

In Santa Fe, N.M., lead actor and executive producer Alec Baldwin handled a gun that he believed to not be loaded, but unfortunately, the term ‘cold gun’ needs reevaluation after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed on the set of western-style film Rust

Assistant director Dave Halls handed Baldwin this gun on set, unaware of the live fire that was located inside of the gun. As a result, calling it a ‘cold gun’ resulted in Hutchins’ death, as well as leaving director Joel Souza’s shoulder impacted. Dave Halls claimed to be unaware of the factor of live rounds being in the prop gun, and Santa Fe County sheriffs have begun to investigate the matter.

The death of Hutchins has impacted Baldwin immensely. In a statement released on Twitter Friday, Baldwin wrote that “there are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours.” 

Nearly one hundred people were investigated that were there for the incident that occurred while filming Rust.

Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell called 911 to tell them that when they heard the gunshot everybody on set ran out, including Mitchell. When the dispatcher asked Mitchell if the gun was loaded with a real bullet, Mitchell replied by saying that “I cannot tell you. We have two injuries. And this ******* [assistant director] that yelled at me at lunch, asking about revisions… He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happens on the set.”

Since the incident, Baldwin has responded on Twitter by retweeting two articles, both claiming that the guns were not properly checked before he handled them on set. Sheriffs in Santa Fe County say that they should have known there was a live round in the firearm. 

The tragedy of Halyna Hutchins’ death is an unforgettable one. While incidents such as these on set are uncommon, they are not completely unheard of. In the film industry, maintaining safety needs to be prioritized more to avoid these incidents from occurring. 

On a professional set, an incident like this is very avoidable. There was no reason that this should have happened, and there needs to be more structure in how guns on set are handled as a unit. 

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Halyna Hutchins, as well as Joel Souza and those who were involved in this incident during the filming of Rust. Nobody should ever lose their life on a film set, especially when doing something that they love. I hope that in the future gun control on set is not taken as lightly and that this experience can teach those in the film industry to take more rigorous precautions. 

Mia Richards is a Journalism Broadcast and Theatre Performance double major. While they have lots of experience on stage, they are also is attributed with multiple directional credits. They love playing video games and learning more about playing their bass guitar! You typically can find them in their room manifesting or in the kitchen eating multitudes of breakfast food.
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