Forums > General Industry > A Loaded Gun on the set?

Photographer

Patrick Walberg

Posts: 44680

Salinas, California, US

Many photographers I know have photographed models with guns. I've even done so many years .. make that decades ago. Some images I've seen even have the model pointing the gun at the camera.    I have friends here and on Facebook who are gun collectors and/or enjoy the sport of shooting.   I used to be a gun owner.  I have enjoyed target shooting.  Something happened to me where I had a change of heart regarding guns.  The fact is that I am not into hunting, and I have even reduced the amount of meat I eat.  However, I DO NOT tell my gun owner friends that they should not use their guns in images or videos.  You know where this is going ....

So by now I'm sure that most of you are aware that there was a tragic mishap where a director on a movie set was shot and killed by a gun that was thought to be "cold" but was actually loaded with live ammo.  The actor is well known, and distraught.  My father who taught me about gun safety told me NEVER point a gun at someone or something unless you intend to shoot it.  Also ALWAYS consider that the gun is loaded .. do not assume it is unloaded, as that is when accidents can happen. If I ever shot someone and they died, even if it was justified .. I wouldn't be able to cope.  That is why I changed my mind about being a law enforcement officer a very long time ago.  I feel horrible for Alic Baldwin.  He has to live with this the rest of his life.  . 

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/ … 69ce5.html   

Photographers, does this make you rethink how and why you would use guns on your own set?  Do you think that the film industry will ban live ammunition from being on the set of future movies?   Models, are you okay with doing shoots with guns in your hands, or have you decided it's not for you?  It seems like gun pictures are becoming cliche and about as dangerous as railroad tracks.  I believe that IF done right with safety in mind, it is possible to get great images with guns or around railroad tracks.  I've done both, but not anymore.  I understad that the crew (union) walked off the set of 'Rust' due to safety concerns and that they continued work with a bare bones and non union crew.   -sigh-

Oct 23 21 02:23 pm Link

Photographer

Patrick Walberg

Posts: 44680

Salinas, California, US

Sorry for the repost!  My connectivity is bad and I must have double posted?

Oct 23 21 02:25 pm Link

Artist/Painter

Hunter GWPB

Posts: 6711

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, US

I am not a movie maker and I don't know why a real gun and live ammunition is on set.  I suppose they do things differently then I think they do. I suppose they may use live ammo to show the bullets punching the paper target, but I thought they used something akin to a squib.  I am surprised live ammo and a gun capable of shooting projectiles was on set. I would have guessed that a prop gun was chambered in a manner so that only blanks could be loaded.


Many people have a cavalier attitude about guns.  Even people who ought to know better.  Always, always always, treat every gun as if it is loaded. If someone hands you an unloaded gun, unload it or disable it anyway and still treat it like it is loaded.  Even a gun loaded with blanks is dangerous.  Read up abut Brandon Lee.

The second rule of gun safety, is never point a gun at something or someone that you do not intend to inflict with a great harm. 

Baldwin may not have known the gun was loaded, but he still broke rule number one and then he pointed the gun at someone, breaking rule number two.  Whoever loaded that gun, whoever told Baldwin the gun was not loaded, Baldwin still screwed up.

One person making a mistake can ruin many lives.

Oct 23 21 03:00 pm Link

Photographer

Bob Helm Photography

Posts: 18788

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US

I do not use guns in , real or fake , in any of my work but this incident was gross negligence and the people tasked with the care and safety of the guns appear to be extremely inexperienced.

There is no excuse for having live ammo on set, if any live ammo is used that is for the second unit without actors.
There was a movie a few years ago about Navy SEALS where all the actors WERE SEALS and I understand all fire was live fire but that was a one off with highly trained military that use live fire in regular training.

While the evidence is not in  yet from what is being reported I would expect charges and I cannot imaging what the actor, who is personally very gun control, must be going through.

In every shoot safety has to be a top priority

Oct 23 21 03:58 pm Link

Photographer

LightDreams

Posts: 3140

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Questions as to whether they might have been trying to get a straight on POV shot of Baldwin firing the gun (supposedly with blanks) directly at the camera.

Note that the shot directly hit the Director of Photography and the Director was right behind her, which sounds like he might have been looking over her shoulder (possibly at the same camera screen?).  The shot went through her and into him.

I am NOT justifying it in any form.   On the contrary, there are so many things that appear to be so very wrong with this.  Questions as to whether it was a proper "prop" gun, the labelling of it, the labelling of the ammunition, the preparation stages, and the Assistant Director also wasn't aware (he called out "Cold Gun" as he handed it to Baldwin for the shot).  And, has been pointed out, the question about if they actually were trying to get that kind of a "straight on" shot to begin with.  And if not, it still ended up directed towards the two of them, whether it was supposed to be blanks or not.  Plus there are questions about previous possible issues with guns on that same set.

A tragic accident that was likely quite preventable in many ways.   I feel terrible for the people involved but, the results are pretty devastating.  Things went badly wrong, two people were shot and one died.  So I would agree that there will likely be charges.

Oct 23 21 05:23 pm Link

Photographer

Beyond Boudoir

Posts: 392

Portland, Oregon, US

The actor in question was known to be a very active gun control advocate.  Having participated in that debate myself for many years, I think it's safe to say that people like that hate guns.  It is very difficult for them on an emotional level to go through an effective training program and learn truly safe gun handling habits. 

A pro-gun actor would never have accepted a firearm from another person without checking the status personally and would certainly not have pulled the trigger while pointed in an unsafe direction.

There are probably many lessons here that will come out as the story unfolds, but to me, this says a lot about the unhealthy attitudes many people have about guns.

Oct 23 21 09:40 pm Link

Photographer

John Silva Photography

Posts: 506

Fairfield, California, US

Hunter  GWPB wrote:
Baldwin may not have known the gun was loaded, but he still broke rule number one and then he pointed the gun at someone, breaking rule number two.  Whoever loaded that gun, whoever told Baldwin the gun was not loaded, Baldwin still screwed up.

The rules of hunting I will assume do not apply to movies. I have seen countless times when a gun is pointed directly at the viewer. Well we here ALL know that can only happen when it's pointed straight at the camera and unless the camera is remotely operated, SOMEONE is operating that camera and likely a puller as well as the directer looking on to get a birds-eye view of how the scene related to the composition.
using accepted movie protocols which seem to have several layers of redundancy should make a scene safe!
Obviously even with protocols SH*T happens and that's highly regrettable.
Along with others I have trouble believing that there is real and live ammo anywhere near a movie set!!!
John

Oct 23 21 10:56 pm Link

Photographer

John Silva Photography

Posts: 506

Fairfield, California, US

Beyond Boudoir wrote:
The actor in question was known to be a very active gun control advocate.  Having participated in that debate myself for many years, I think it's safe to say that people like that hate guns.  It is very difficult for them on an emotional level to go through an effective training program and learn truly safe gun handling habits. 

A pro-gun actor would never have accepted a firearm from another person without checking the status personally and would certainly not have pulled the trigger while pointed in an unsafe direction.

There are probably many lessons here that will come out as the story unfolds, but to me, this says a lot about the unhealthy attitudes many people have about guns.

1, "The actor in question was known to be a very active gun control advocate.  Having participated in that debate myself for many years, I think it's safe to say that people like that hate guns.  It is very difficult for them on an emotional level to go through an effective training program and learn truly safe gun handling habits."
^^^I think the above is all smoke and mirrors and just pure personal baggage BS!
2, A pro-gun actor would never have accepted a firearm from another person without checking the status personally and would certainly not have pulled the trigger while pointed in an unsafe direction.
^^^ Man talk about pure political Bull Shit, this smells bad! It was a movie set with it's own special protocols not some African safari!!!
John

Oct 23 21 11:05 pm Link

Photographer

j_francis_imagery

Posts: 273

Los Angeles, California, US

The experienced people reportedly quit over conditions created by production. One of the producers was Baldwin.

Inexperienced replacements apparently used the gun for target practice in their spare time and returned it to the prop gun collection without properly unloading it.

That’s the latest explanation for how the gun came to be loaded.

According to news reports the AD declared the gun “cold” without verifying it. Presumably Baldwin (as actor) didn’t verify it, either.

https://popculture.com/movies/news/alec … -practice/

Oct 24 21 01:21 am Link

Artist/Painter

Hunter GWPB

Posts: 6711

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, US

John Silva Photography wrote:
The rules of hunting I will assume do not apply to movies. I have seen countless times when a gun is pointed directly at the viewer. Well we here ALL know that can only happen when it's pointed straight at the camera and unless the camera is remotely operated, SOMEONE is operating that camera and likely a puller as well as the directer looking on to get a birds-eye view of how the scene related to the composition.
using accepted movie protocols which seem to have several layers of redundancy should make a scene safe!
Obviously even with protocols SH*T happens and that's highly regrettable.
Along with others I have trouble believing that there is real and live ammo anywhere near a movie set!!!
John

Gun safety rules are not the rules of hunting.  They are gun safety rules.  Safety rules in hunting incorporate gun safety rules.  Gun safety rules apply in any instance in which firearms (including fake ones) are being handled.  There are a lot of gun safety rules involved in hunting.  Never lean a gun against a car or a tree.  Lay it on the ground, put in in a wedge, hand it to another person.  Don’t climb over fences with a loaded gun.  Don’t climb into a tree stand with a loaded gun.  Don’t hunt through rough terrain with a loaded gun.  Know what is behind the target- therefore don’t shoot at running game.  Clearly identify the target- a flash of white is NOT a deer until you can see the entire deer- and since it is that time of year, if you are doing photo shoots or hiking or anything else in the woods and fields: don’t wear browns, tans, blacks or dark blues  because they make you look like a critter going through brush, and especially don’t wear any white, don’t wear camo and definitely wear orange hats and vests.  Your head sticking up just above the crest of a hill looks like a ground hog or other animal to a hunter on the other side of the hill. Yellows and grays are nature’s camouflage so they make you invisible in brush.  Know where everyone is at all times. (Dick Cheney didn’t.)   Assume everyone out there with a gun is an idiot and/or capable of making mistakes and misjudgments that will cost you your life.  Assume hunters think that only hunters that are wearing fluorescent orange are in the woods during hunting season.

I understand that on a movie set you are going to be pointing the gun at people you do not want to shoot to get the shot on film, but that is rule number two.  Treating a gun as if it were loaded, being the first rule, would require everyone handling if a gun to verify the gun’s condition.  No one in the chain did that.  Obviously.  Passing a gun down a line of people, like we are passing food along, isn’t a good idea.

As you point out, to much dismay, there was live ammo on the movie set.  Knowledge of that fact would require extra diligence, wouldn’t you agree?  Whatever additional protocols are involved with making a movie, or in doing a photo shoot, the protocols were not followed.  It is clear that if Baldwin had treated the gun as if it were loaded, had the person that handed it to him treated it as if it was loaded, if each person who touched it had treated it as if it was loaded, then this conversation wouldn’t be happening.   

While this particular event was news worthy, the reality is that accidental shootings happen on a rate which is greater than one everyday in the USA.  Accidental shootings were up in the pandemic.  Gun safety is  too often ignored in this country and ignoring gun safety for the sake of getting the dramatic shot is no excuse.  Maybe, we need to reevaluate the validity of the dramatic shot.

https://www.aftermath.com/content/accid … tatistics/

Oct 24 21 06:11 am Link

Clothing Designer

Baanthai

Posts: 1214

Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

j_francis_imagery wrote:
The experienced people reportedly quit over conditions created by production. One of the producers was Baldwin.

Inexperienced replacements apparently used the gun for target practice in their spare time and returned it to the prop gun collection without properly unloading it.

That’s the latest explanation for how the gun came to be loaded.

According to news reports the AD declared the gun “cold” without verifying it. Presumably Baldwin (as actor) didn’t verify it, either.

https://popculture.com/movies/news/alec … -practice/

L.A Times reported yesterday that there were 3 unintended discharges of this gun in the days prior to the fatal shooting. Six camera operators walked off the set the morning of the incident saying they were concerned for their safety. The camera operators also complained about not being paid and grueling hours. This was definitely a movie production that had major issues. And A. B. was not just an actor, but a producer and so could be criminally liable if he knew his employees were not following established safety protocol and either did nothing or condoned their actions. (Of course he and the production company are liable in a civil case.)

The civil case is a slam dunk and I hope the production company has a big insurance policy. The criminal charges could be manslaughter/negligent homicide. But we don’t have enough facts to discern criminal liability if any. At least A.B. is doing the right thing of cooperating with the police investigation.

Oct 24 21 06:14 am Link

Clothing Designer

Baanthai

Posts: 1214

Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Beyond Boudoir wrote:
The actor in question was known to be a very active gun control advocate.  Having participated in that debate myself for many years, I think it's safe to say that people like that hate guns.  It is very difficult for them on an emotional level to go through an effective training program and learn truly safe gun handling habits. 

A pro-gun actor would never have accepted a firearm from another person without checking the status personally and would certainly not have pulled the trigger while pointed in an unsafe direction.

There are probably many lessons here that will come out as the story unfolds, but to me, this says a lot about the unhealthy attitudes many people have about guns.

When up is down. Backwards = forward. Round Earth = Flat Earth.

Oct 24 21 06:17 am Link

Artist/Painter

Hunter GWPB

Posts: 6711

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, US

Beyond Boudoir wrote:
The actor in question was known to be a very active gun control advocate.  Having participated in that debate myself for many years, I think it's safe to say that people like that hate guns.  It is very difficult for them on an emotional level to go through an effective training program and learn truly safe gun handling habits. 

A pro-gun actor would never have accepted a firearm from another person without checking the status personally and would certainly not have pulled the trigger while pointed in an unsafe direction.

There are probably many lessons here that will come out as the story unfolds, but to me, this says a lot about the unhealthy attitudes many people have about guns.

A lot of gun enthusiast have unhealthy, attitudes about guns.  They aren’t any better then a person that doesn’t know anything about guns if their attitude is cavalier.   We are both putting the onus on the person that is being handed a gun to check it, but a person that hands a gun in their possession to another person without unloading first, is an ass.  Don’t hand me a gun and expect me to figure out where the magazine release and safety are.

Oct 24 21 06:33 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 177

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Why am I finding it difficult to believe this was a simple accident? Safety regulations in the movie industry require firearms to be prepared by qualified people. Blank rounds are designed to look different from live ones, to prevent people confusing them. We need some more information about this I think.

Oct 24 21 08:16 am Link

Photographer

j_francis_imagery

Posts: 273

Los Angeles, California, US

Beyond Boudoir wrote:
The actor in question was known to be a very active gun control advocate.  Having participated in that debate myself for many years, I think it's safe to say that people like that hate guns.  It is very difficult for them on an emotional level to go through an effective training program and learn truly safe gun handling habits. 

A pro-gun actor would never have accepted a firearm from another person without checking the status personally and would certainly not have pulled the trigger while pointed in an unsafe direction.

There are probably many lessons here that will come out as the story unfolds, but to me, this says a lot about the unhealthy attitudes many people have about guns.

According to some reports, the gun enthusiasts on the set may have been so enthusiastic about guns that they took a designated prop gun out to target practice with live rounds.

Oct 24 21 08:20 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 177

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

A gun control advocate? If true, that is quite ironic. It appears that his hatred of firearms wasn't so great as to prevent him from using one as a character in a film.

A person who was a firearms enthusiast and practised in their use would probably have checked the weapon over out of habit. I'm sure Charlton Heston would have done that.

I sometimes use replica guns in photo shoots, I have replica swords and bows as well.

Oct 24 21 08:27 am Link

Photographer

j_francis_imagery

Posts: 273

Los Angeles, California, US

JSouthworth wrote:
A person who was a firearms enthusiast and practised in their use would probably have checked the weapon over out of habit. I'm sure Charlton Heston would have done that.

Some news outlets are reporting the situation like this:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl … vents.html

Oct 24 21 08:38 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 177

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

I just cannot get my head around this idea of people randomly and repeatedly shooting off live ammunition on a movie set, were they on drugs or something? If this kind of thing was normal, there would have been an awful lot of similar fatalities in Hollywood over the years. Like, thousands. And yet this is the first incident of it's kind that I've heard about. Although, James Cagney nearly bought the farm during the filming of Angels with Dirty Faces. Or was it Public Enemy? A burst from a Thompson missed him by a few inches. In those days they used live ammunition in ways which wouldn't be tolerated today. Blank ammunition can of course also be lethal under certain conditions, as in the sad case of Brandon Lee.

Also, is it usual for the cinematographer to be operating a camera? Could it be that the regular camera operator was off sick that day?

Oct 25 21 10:19 am Link

Admin

Model Mayhem Edu

Posts: 1089

Los Angeles, California, US

JSouthworth wrote:
Also, is it usual for the cinematographer to be operating a camera? Could it be that the regular camera operator was off sick that day?

Yes, it's very common for the DP to also operate, especially on low-budget films, and many of the top cinematographers in the world operate even on big productions. For example, Roger Deakins typically operates the "a" camera on his films (1917, Bladerunner 2049, Skyfall, etc).

Oct 25 21 11:54 am Link

Photographer

Focuspuller

Posts: 1278

Los Angeles, California, US

As an assistant cameraperson on feature films for 45 years, I cannot begin to count the number of times I was shot at in the line of duty, protected in most cases by a plexiglass shield to protect my eyes from the wadding, never ONCE thinking, "If there is a live round in that gun I AM DEAD." That is because experienced professionals were always in charge, which included demonstrating to crew and talent alike that the gun(s) in the scene to be shot were cleared and safe before the scene was shot. It is clear that experienced, conscientious professionals were NOT in control of the firearms on this low budget production and a tragedy occurred.

And let's put to rest the conventional wisdom that working on films is some kind of La La Land picnic. it is hard, it is exhausting, and it is DANGEROUS.

https://deadline.com/2021/10/cinematogr … 234861489/

Oct 25 21 12:01 pm Link

Photographer

Focuspuller

Posts: 1278

Los Angeles, California, US

Model Mayhem Edu wrote:

Yes, it's very common for the DP to also operate, especially on low-budget films, and many of the top cinematographers in the world operate even on big productions. For example, Roger Deakins typically operates the "a" camera on his films (1917, Bladerunner 2049, Skyfall, etc).

Not to quibble, but cinematographers operating the camera on major motion pictures is not common at all. Roger Deakins and Bob Richardson are the exception, not the rule. The cinematographer was not operating the camera In this case.

Oct 25 21 12:09 pm Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 11212

Olney, Maryland, US

John Silva Photography wrote:
2, A pro-gun actor would never have accepted a firearm from another person without checking the status personally . . .

So many people are missing this. I keep hearing about "four rules" that don't include this.

Hunter  GWPB wrote:
Don’t hand me a gun and expect me to figure out where the magazine release and safety are.

ASK for instructions. And then verify for yourself!

Oct 25 21 01:09 pm Link

Photographer

rfordphotos

Posts: 8582

Antioch, California, US

I have been a gun owner for nearly 60 years. I used to be an active hunter but gave it up because too many fools were in the woods.

I was a very active target shooter, centerfire rifle and pistol as well as a competitive (sort of smile )skeet shooter.

I was a hand loader and produced literally thousands of rounds of centerfire rifle, pistol and shotgun rounds.

There is a right way, a safe way to handle firearms, and it isnt rocket science.

I have no experience with guns on a movie set, but the safe handling procedures are not any different.

Every time. E.V.E.R.Y. T.I.M.E. you pick a gun up---you insure it is either NOT loaded, or if loaded, it is loaded as you expect it to be.

The person pulling the trigger is the person who needs to insure the status of a gun--- you dont trust someone else to clear it for you. EVER

If your actors dont know enough about guns to safely handle them----teach them before you start handling guns. No excuses.

Blank rounds, squib loads--- under the right (wrong) circumstances are easily capable of fatally wounding someone.

People have been killed with the starter pistols used at track meets.

I cant imagine a good reason for full power loads on set.

I cannot imagine a situation where "prop' guns, in use for filming are taken off set to plink with. Just doesnt sound like a professional environment, one with safety foremost in mind.

This was a 1000% avoidable tragedy.

edit to add:

gun safety is a habit. I can WATCH you unload a firearm before you hand it to me--- and I will STILL clear the firearm MYSELF.

Oct 25 21 01:23 pm Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 177

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Focuspuller wrote:
As an assistant cameraperson on feature films for 45 years, I cannot begin to count the number of times I was shot at in the line of duty, protected in most cases by a plexiglass shield to protect my eyes from the wadding, never ONCE thinking, "If there is a live round in that gun I AM DEAD." That is because experienced professionals were always in charge, which included demonstrating to crew and talent alike that the gun(s) in the scene to be shot were cleared and safe before the scene was shot. It is clear that experienced, conscientious professionals were NOT in control of the firearms on this low budget production and a tragedy occurred.

And let's put to rest the conventional wisdom that working on films is some kind of La La Land picnic. it is hard, it is exhausting, and it is DANGEROUS.

https://deadline.com/2021/10/cinematogr … 234861489/

Well put. Even with blank rounds, it's not acceptable to fire a gun directly at another person without protection because wadding and debris can be projected at very high velocity, you could blind someone or blow half their face off.

Oct 25 21 04:48 pm Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 177

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Model Mayhem Edu wrote:
Yes, it's very common for the DP to also operate, especially on low-budget films, and many of the top cinematographers in the world operate even on big productions. For example, Roger Deakins typically operates the "a" camera on his films (1917, Bladerunner 2049, Skyfall, etc).

I fully realise that's it's not unknown for a cimematographer to get behind the camera, but what I'm interested in is exactly how the cinematographer came to be behind the camera in this particular instance, I want to know if there's a story behind that.

Oct 25 21 04:51 pm Link

Photographer

j_francis_imagery

Posts: 273

Los Angeles, California, US

JSouthworth wrote:
I fully realise that's it's not unknown for a cimematographer to get behind the camera, but what I'm interested in is exactly how the cinematographer came to be behind the camera in this particular instance, I want to know if there's a story behind that.

According to the LA Times they were actually reviewing takes on a monitor.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-a … ed-off-set

Oct 25 21 05:26 pm Link

Photographer

j_francis_imagery

Posts: 273

Los Angeles, California, US

JSouthworth wrote:
Well put. Even with blank rounds, it's not acceptable to fire a gun directly at another person without protection because wadding and debris can be projected at very high velocity, you could blind someone or blow half their face off.

I heard somewhere online there was a screen in use suitable for protection against blanks.

Oct 25 21 05:28 pm Link

Photographer

LightDreams

Posts: 3140

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

JSouthworth wrote:
I fully realise that's it's not unknown for a cimematographer to get behind the camera, but what I'm interested in is exactly how the cinematographer came to be behind the camera in this particular instance, I want to know if there's a story behind that.

The Director, Joel Souza (who was shot, but survived), has indicated that he and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, were behind the camera considering different camera angles.  This was during a rehearsal where Baldwin was to draw the gun and "point it towards the camera lens".

His statement, to that effect, was given to the Sheriff's office.

We don't know exactly what happened after the gun was drawn and pointed at the camera.  But we do know that there had been at least one (possibly two) gun misfires previously on the same movie set.

Oct 25 21 06:01 pm Link

Artist/Painter

Hunter GWPB

Posts: 6711

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, US

Mark Salo wrote:
ASK for instructions. And then verify for yourself!

I think that you are reading my statement to mean that I would accept a gun from someone that was handed it to me,  being unaware if it was loaded.  I really can't imagine doing that and I stated why.  Sorry I wasn't more clear, but it is an opportunity to reiterate.  Even when we were climbing over something like a fence while we were hunting, I recall being taught to open opened the breach first. 

When I took my kid to hunter safety class, the instructor handed a loaded gun made from wood and clothes pins, which fired rubber bands, to a person in the front row and told the kids to pass it around.  They gingerly passed that thing down the row until it got to the first person, an adult, that knew anything about gun safety, and he immediately unloaded it- uses proper safety procedures.  This was a class to teach firearm safety and hunting safety to 11 and 12 year olds that would be starting to hunt that fall.  (Minimum age to hunt in Pennsylvania is 12.)  To restate, the first thing they taught about gun safety in a hunter ed class was to not pass a loaded firearm to someone else.  They also hit hard on treating every gun like it is loaded.

I have never had loaded guns around the house, but every time I handle every one of them, the first thing I do, instinctively, when taking them out of the gun safe, or the case, is to verify they are unloaded and internal magazines are empty.  Repeating that every time they are stowed.  Every single time. They are always transported with the breach open, and where the magazine is detachable, the magazine is detached.  I can't imagine a situation like was described on this movie set, where guns were laid out on a tray, accessible to anyone.  The only two people that should have touched them, been able to touch them, was the firearm expert and the actor.   No go betweens.

Oct 25 21 06:08 pm Link

Photographer

Focuspuller

Posts: 1278

Los Angeles, California, US

JSouthworth wrote:

I fully realise that's it's not unknown for a cimematographer to get behind the camera, but what I'm interested in is exactly how the cinematographer came to be behind the camera in this particular instance, I want to know if there's a story behind that.

She was not operating the camera. She and the director were watching a monitor behind the camera, which was on a dolly, while the operator composed the shot.

Oct 25 21 07:07 pm Link

Photographer

Patrick Walberg

Posts: 44680

Salinas, California, US

Focuspuller wrote:
Not to quibble, but cinematographers operating the camera on major motion pictures is not common at all. Roger Deakins and Bob Richardson are the exception, not the rule. The cinematographer was not operating the camera In this case.

I believe they were not actually shooting, but rehearsing. At least I read something like that.  The set was disorganized in any case.

Oct 25 21 08:20 pm Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 177

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Focuspuller wrote:
She was not operating the camera. She and the director were watching a monitor behind the camera, which was on a dolly, while the operator composed the shot.

That makes sense, I'll take your word for it. So Baldwin was aiming in the direction of the camera, and his shot went past the camera and operator and hit the cinematographer, and also the director.

If for whatever reason, someone wanted to stage a fatal accident on a movie set, what would be the simplest way? Probably to reload a prop gun with live rounds. It would only take a few seconds to do that.

Apparently the Mafia once tried to assassinate James Cagney by rigging a light to fall on him, but it didn't work.

Oct 26 21 03:20 am Link

Photographer

LightDreams

Posts: 3140

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

JSouthworth wrote:
If for whatever reason, someone wanted to stage a fatal accident on a movie set, what would be the simplest way? Probably to reload a prop gun with live rounds. It would only take a few seconds to do that.

No.  Just no.

1)  You don't know WHO would be shot.

2)  Your theory would also require that after the gun was loaded, that none of the safety procedures and checks would be done.

Stick to the obvious conclusion.  All sorts of steps related to safety either weren't done or weren't done correctly.  It was a tragic accident.  One that, very likely, was quite preventable.

---

It's now been confirmed that cast members were shooting live rounds at beer cans earlier in the day.  We don't know if any of the same guns were involved, but obviously, that's going to be a critical question.

There are also various reports regarding possible previous situations on other sets involving the same Assistant Director (the one who handed the gun to Baldwin and called out "Cold Gun").  One particular media report, if it turns out to be true, would be very serious and quite relevant, but we'll see.   This is all about safety, or the lack thereof.

Oct 26 21 07:24 am Link

Photographer

TomFRohwer

Posts: 1587

Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Patrick Walberg wrote:
NEVER point a gun at someone or something unless you intend to shoot it.

This does not work when you intend to shoot a movie scene or a photograph whichs shows a person aiming with a gun from the perspective of the person who is the target. And it is legitimate to shoot such scenes.

Also ALWAYS consider that the gun is loaded

... until you have checked it and know whether it's loaded or unloaded.

Do you think that the film industry will ban live ammunition from being on the set of future movies?

Honestly I do not get the idea to have live ammo at a film set...
When you shoot scenes of people firing guns the cannot be loaded with live ammo.
When you want images of bullets hitting a target you call for the special effect folks - they can do this much better.

For now nobody knows what really happend - and why.
One thing we know: Alec Baldwin should have checked the gun immediately after he took it from the hand of the director's assistant.

As every reasonable and responsible-minded gun owner does it. Always. No exception. Never ever.

Oct 26 21 08:33 am Link

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TomFRohwer

Posts: 1587

Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

LightDreams wrote:
" If for whatever reason, someone wanted to stage a fatal accident on a movie set, what would be the simplest way? Probably to reload a prop gun with live rounds. It would only take a few seconds to do that."

No.  Just no.

1)  You don't know WHO would be shot.

Maybe somebody did not care about this. Somebody who just wanted to sabotage the production. For what reasons ever.

2)  Your theory would also require that after the gun was loaded, that none of the safety procedures and checks would be done.

Maybe somebody just tried out. Maybe somebody watched the procedures for some time and realized that the procedures were inadequate .

Stick to the obvious conclusion.  All sorts of steps related to safety either weren't done or weren't done correctly.  It was a tragic accident.  One that, very likely, was quite preventable.

We will see. Perhaps.

Oct 26 21 08:35 am Link

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SayCheeZ!

Posts: 20345

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

" If for whatever reason, someone wanted to stage a fatal accident on a movie set, what would be the simplest way? Probably to reload a prop gun with live rounds. It would only take a few seconds to do that."

TomFRohwer wrote:
Maybe somebody did not care about this. Somebody who just wanted to sabotage the production. For what reasons ever.

2)  Your theory would also require that after the gun was loaded, that none of the safety procedures and checks would be done.

TomFRohwer wrote:
Maybe somebody just tried out. Maybe somebody watched the procedures for some time and realized that the procedures were inadequate .

Tom, investigators must look at all possibilities of what could cause such tragedies, from evidence to prove that it was a total accident, to a plot to kill a person for whatever reason, and even being a terrorist activity. 

"What if" is never a dumb question.  The simplest and highly unlikely "what if" situation could easily become the truth to the matter.

One of the possibilities that I thought of matches your mention of the production being sabotaged.  Not saying that this IS the reason, but's a very likely possibility.  I thought I might be alone in this theory, but I ran into a good friend of mine last night at a party.  She's the longest operating talent agent in Las Vegas (40+ years in business), and I mentioned the theory over dinner and she indicated that it was also the FIRST thing she thought of.

Some of the evidence that indicate that this is a possibility is that the union crews walked off the set due to safety concerns.  What better way for a union employee to prove their point than to create a dangerous situation right before they leave?

Oct 26 21 09:37 am Link

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j_francis_imagery

Posts: 273

Los Angeles, California, US

“Sources say the (fun-looking, period Colt cowboy six shooter) gun in question had been used by the crew for off-set target practice. They reportedly used real bullets. The gun was then returned to the set and used by Alec.”

https://radaronline.com/p/alec-baldwin- … stigation/

Oct 26 21 10:19 am Link

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LightDreams

Posts: 3140

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

SayCheeZ!  wrote:
What better way for a union employee to prove their point than to create a dangerous situation right before they leave?

If anyone took advantage of the safety lapses to deliberately load the gun then, as far as I'm concerned they should rot in hell.

Personally, I look at the odds.  There were clear safety problems related to guns on the set of "Rust".  There were at least one, possibly two, previous gun misfires on the same set.  The Assistant Director who called "cold gun", couldn't possibly have checked the gun.  Not to mention the questions as to whether they used the same gun for live fire beforehand.

NBC News is now confirming that the same Assistant Director was fired in 2019 over a somewhat similar gun incident where a gun misfire resulted in a minor injury to a crew member on the set of "Freedom's Path".  Others have raised issues about his attitude towards safety on the set of "Into the Dark".  And yes, the union and others were concerned about safety on this particular set. And, one way or the other, we all know the results.

One possible result that's being tossed around, is the possible banning of ALL guns that are able to fire either live rounds or blanks on the sets.  The argument being made, is that all "gunfire" should have to be CGI based.  I have no clue how serious that possibility is.  But at least they're talking about finding other approaches.

Oct 26 21 10:29 am Link

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John Silva Photography

Posts: 506

Fairfield, California, US

Yes, lots of unsubstantiated theories out there by a lot of folks who were not there and that includes all of us and anybody we talk to!
I never read much about the safety things after the initial reports by the Sheriffs dept. They did say that the reason the union workers had walked off the job had to do with money, such as pay and hotels room bills and not about safety.
For sure the brunt of the responsibility should fall on the on the armorer. That person should be in charge of anything to do with weapons from start to finish accounting for every bullet/blank they had issued.
You can bet we will never know any facts that are privileged knowledge until the investigation is complete. That's what keeps people close to the event from interjecting false facts to cover up other facts. 
But we can keep speculating, makes for good reading!!!
John

Oct 26 21 10:46 am Link

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Focuspuller

Posts: 1278

Los Angeles, California, US

JSouthworth wrote:

That makes sense, I'll take your word for it. So Baldwin was aiming in the direction of the camera, and his shot went past the camera and operator and hit the cinematographer, and also the director.

If for whatever reason, someone wanted to stage a fatal accident on a movie set, what would be the simplest way? Probably to reload a prop gun with live rounds. It would only take a few seconds to do that.

Apparently the Mafia once tried to assassinate James Cagney by rigging a light to fall on him, but it didn't work.

Well if it isn't Detective Columbo. Been waiting for you to show up. This thread is getting to be a disservice to the memory of someone who was ACTUALLY killed. Can we keep the wild speculation to a minimum and just let the actual investigation proceed without fantasy mongering?

Oct 26 21 01:37 pm Link