While the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins at the hands of Alec Baldwin on the set of the movie “Rust” has caused many social media users to fancy themselves as gun experts overnight, someone who has actual experience handling on-set firearms has now chimed in.
Adam Baldwin may not be a relative of Alec Baldwin, but he is a fellow actor, with decades of experience on movie sets where prop guns were used, including for films such as “Full Metal Jacket,” “Wyatt Earp” and “The Patriot.”
So when it comes to the expected safety measures an actor should take when being handed a prop gun, he knows what he’s talking about.
Adam Baldwin took to Twitter this week to dispute the notion that Alec Baldwin is not to blame for Hutchins’ death as he was handed the gun that took her life by the film’s assistant director, who told him it was a “cold gun,” i.e. not loaded with live rounds, just before the fatal shooting.
WARNING: The following contains vulgar language that some readers will find offensive.
“He was expertly performing a quick-draw with a gun he wasn’t familiar enough with to inspect beforehand, so the negligent discharge is someone else’s fault?” Adam wrote.
“Bull***,” he added bluntly.
He was expertly performing a quick-draw with a gun he wasn’t familiar enough with to inspect beforehand, so the negligent discharge is someone else’s fault?
— Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) October 27, 2021
On Thursday, “Rust” assistant director Dave Halls handed Alec Baldwin the firearm, which he had retrieved from a prop cart, where it had been placed by the film’s armorist, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
The media has largely blamed Halls and Gutierrez-Reed for the fatal shooting, pushing the narrative that the famous actor couldn’t have been responsible.
Yet the claim that Adam Baldwin was refuting was any impression that Alec Baldwin is somehow free of fault. This is hardly the case, and it’s likely going to get much worse for him.
Santa Fe district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told The New York Times this week that “everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table.”
She also noted that the term “prop gun” is misleading, as the firearm that Baldwin pointed and fired at a camera while practicing a stunt, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joe Souza, was the real deal.
“It was a legit gun,” Carmack-Altwies said. “It was an antique-era appropriate gun.”
This makes things considerably worse for Baldwin and the crew, as you’d think we’d be able to expect, at the very least, that they were aware they were using real guns.
Even the most basic firearms safety course will teach you to treat every gun as though it is loaded and to check if it is loaded as soon as you pick it up. For anyone who regularly handles firearms, it becomes a matter of muscle memory to check the chamber when a gun is handed to you — something one shouldn’t even have to think about. Verbal confirmation is not enough.
And to Adam Baldwin’s point, as Albuquerque criminal defense attorney Erlinda Johnson told the Times, “Whoever handles the firearm has a duty to check it for any live rounds.”
That means it was Gutierrez-Reed’s duty, Halls’ duty and Alec Baldwin’s duty to check the gun for live rounds, no matter what anyone told him about its status.
Adam Baldwin has been in films for decades, so while the layperson might not know what to expect of an actor handling firearms on set, he sure does, and he’s calling foul about the claims that Baldwin should have been able to trust Hall when he was told the weapon was “cold.”
If the outspoken progressive and vehement anti-gun Alec Baldwin didn’t spend so much time criticizing regular, everyday gun owners, he might have known this, but you might have thought that after his own decades-long career, he would have had prior experience with firearms on set as well.
It’s certain that Hutchins’ death can be blamed on people other than Alec Baldwin — but it’s absolutely his fault too, and not just because he pulled the trigger. It’s because of his own failure to practice basic firearms safety.
This is exactly why people think guns are scary, animate objects that randomly go off and kill people — because, like Alec Baldwin, they’re utterly inexperienced with weapons and weapon safety.
Guns don’t kill people; people kill people — and whether that’s because they’re evil people or just plain stupid people, it’s when guns are placed in the hands of the wrong people that they are the most deadly.
It’s an utter shame that Hutchins had to lose her life thanks to the shameful incompetence and reckless negligence of Alec Baldwin and company.
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