Alec Baldwin fatally shoots woman with prop gun on movie set

Man of Honour
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There seems to be quite a division between actors on this - some saying they've never heard "cold gun" used on set ever and that they've always either had a qualified person demonstrate the gun is safe or tested it themselves, others saying they leave it up to the armourer - these are all people with decades of experience.

Interestingly one thing most agree on is it is unusual for the AD to be handing out firearms instead of the prop department doing it with inventory checking as they go.
 
Caporegime
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There seems to be quite a division between actors on this - some saying they've never heard "cold gun" used on set ever and that they've always either had a qualified person demonstrate the gun is safe or tested it themselves, others saying they leave it up to the armourer - these are all people with decades of experience.

Its likely because there is no explicit level of responsibility put on the actor. If an actor is well versed in gun safety and knows a lot about blanks/dummy/live rounds and how all the many different firearms you can use operate etc then that is obviously a bonus. However, the responsibility is quite clearly with the armourer.

Its insane that the armourer must not have cycled the revolver in a safe space/area to confirm it had only dummy rounds in.
 
Soldato
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I am not for one moment suggesting that rigorous fire arm safety should not be carried out on film sets when using real weapons.

Great, that is absolutely the correct attitude to have around firearms!!!

I am saying that it isn't the actors responsibility to 100% confirm a weapon is safe and repeat everything that the person responsible SHOULD have just done.

...............and we're back to an attitude where someone is now dead! What you said above has DIRECTLY led to a death, can you not see that? Baldwin is the final link in the chain of events and if anyone at any point in that chain, including the actor, had checked there'd have been no death. I also notice that what you said in this quote is in direct opposition to what you said in the previous sentence I quoted above. You can't have "rigorous firearm safety on a film set" if you then also say "the actor pulling the trigger doesn't have the responsibility to 100% confirm a weapon is safe" - can you see the dichotomy of those two statements?

Look I hate repeating this over and over but this is extremely simple - someone is now dead because everyone who handled the firearm during this incident had the same poor attitude towards safety, so I'd suggest it's the "directly led to a death" attitude which is wrong and needs to change before anyone else gets killed by it.
 
Soldato
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Great, that is absolutely the correct attitude to have around firearms!!!



...............and we're back to an attitude where someone is now dead! What you said above has DIRECTLY led to a death, can you not see that? Baldwin is the final link in the chain of events and if anyone at any point in that chain, including the actor, had checked there'd have been no death. I also notice that what you said in this quote is in direct opposition to what you said in the previous sentence I quoted above. You can't have "rigorous firearm safety on a film set" if you then also say "the actor pulling the trigger doesn't have the responsibility to 100% confirm a weapon is safe" - can you see the dichotomy of those two statements?

Look I hate repeating this over and over but this is extremely simple - someone is now dead because everyone who handled the firearm during this incident had the same poor attitude towards safety, so I'd suggest it's the "directly led to a death" attitude which is wrong and needs to change before anyone else gets killed by it.

Everyone agrees that stuff went wrong (hard not to when someone is dead). But once again we have one person posting about the reality of this situation i.e. the current rules and responsibilities that apply when using gun props (of all sorts) on a movie set, contrasting with another talking about what they think should happen with firearms based on their experiences not on a movie set and without a designated armourer in charge.

It will be interesting to see if the rules are changed to make actors directly responsible for gun safety and ammo checking on set as some here demand. I can see rules being tightened about the process or even restricting the use of "real" guns and ammo in such situations (to my mind "real" ammo should be no where near actors!) but I would be very surprised if it goes as far as making actors personally liable in any future incidents.
 
Caporegime
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Everyone agrees that stuff went wrong (hard not to when someone is dead). But once again we have one person posting about the reality of this situation i.e. the current rules and responsibilities that apply when using gun props (of all sorts) on a movie set, contrasting with another talking about what they think should happen with firearms based on their experiences not on a movie set and without a designated armourer in charge.

Exactly.
 
Caporegime
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someone is now dead because everyone who handled the firearm during this incident had the same poor attitude towards safety

Someone is dead because the person responsible for this on the movie set had a poor attitude toward safety.

The actor does not have to and is not expected to 100% confirm the weapon is safe (how could he 100%, without the whole situation being farcical and immensely time consuming, beyond what is necessary...?). That is the job of the armourer.

There is no dichotomy between my statements. I am merely being realistic about the lengths that an actor would be expected to go to to ensure a gun they are handed to is safe.

As has been pointed out, if the person responsible for making things safe cannot be trusted, why does the actor not have to check absolutely everything else on set as well to prevent death or injury? Why would it only apply to firearms? Do they have to check that things high up on rigging are secure? Do they have to check that cars they are driving in a scene have been serviced, checked and all in good order? Perhaps they need to request the MOT history?

Does Lewis Hamilton (who is going to be driving a vehicle at ~200mph around other people), get out of his car and ensure the wheel nuts are on properly after his pit crew have carried out a pit stop? After all, he is in control of a machine capable of killing multiple people if left unsafe and it would only take a small amount of time for him to hop out and have a go with the wheel gun himself to confirm?

I'm just being realistic about the situation, instead of this whole: "yeh well i have loads of experience in firearms and was taught to always do this, this and that and never to do that, this or that etc etc". Most of what has been written in this thread is largely irrelevant because they are relevant to situations where there would not be an explicit duty holder or responsible person involved.

If your mate in a recreational setting hands you a gun and says its safe, then i would totally agree with everything you have said. If you are an actor and work as part of a large crew and there is someone explicitly responsible for ensuring the weapons are safe, then i dont think its reasonable for me to carry out all the checks that this person has just done, to once again make sure it is 100% safe if i'm the actor.
 
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Associate
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and if the revolver is loaded with authentic looking dummy rounds?

Just like a few others in this thread, you are conflating ordinary civilian or military gun safety with gun safety on a film set.

The only way for an actor to be sure the weapon was 100% safe, would be to run through all the checks that the armourer has (or should have) just done.

Stating that Alec should have checked it was clear of rounds is stupid because if it is revolver especially, it will likely have some sort of replica round in it as its for a film shot (or perhaps a blank in some circumstances - not this one). Should Alec have a detailed knowledge of how to identify replica rounds used for a film with real ones? Is it his responsibility to ensure a replica round is indeed a replica round?

What if the scene involved a close up of him loading the revolver and then pointing it at someone?

"But you always check a weapon is clear and never point it at anyone!!! Its basic gun safety!!"....oh


Or how about - don't point an actual gun at someone… ever - whether you think it has been loaded or not.

Someone has lost their life needlessly - the earlier post stating that the crew were loading live rounds and shooting targets on set; makes this so much worse imo.

If Baldwin thought the gun was a replica - then fair enough; but if he was aware it was an active firearm - then I can’t see how anyone could defend him.
 
Soldato
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The whole set was told it was unloaded, they shout it to everyone.

You are supposed to do the same on shooting ranges (and they do even on millitary ones in the UK). Everyone around is supposed to know if something is loaded or safe.

Really they shouldn't be using live ammo in the same gun they used for pointing at people at all. But it sounds like some were ******* around with it between scenes.
 
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Caporegime
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Or how about - don't point an actual gun at someone… ever - whether you think it has been loaded or not.

They are filming a movie for goodness sake! There have probably been seventy billion scenes shot for film and tv by now where an actor is aiming a real life firearm at someone.

Of course never aiming a firearm at someone is very good practice in the real world. It isn't however practical in the context of a western action movie.
 
Caporegime
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Or how about - don't point an actual gun at someone… ever - whether you think it has been loaded or not.

Someone has lost their life needlessly - the earlier post stating that the crew were loading live rounds and shooting targets on set; makes this so much worse imo.

If Baldwin thought the gun was a replica - then fair enough; but if he was aware it was an active firearm - then I can’t see how anyone could defend him.

ANd he wasnt necessarily point it at somebody. He was practising a cross chest draw before filming and the gun discharged as he was drawing it from the reports I read. You make it soul like he was deliberately pointing it at the two people shot. The bullet could have hit anybody in the room or nobody.
 
Caporegime
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Look I hate repeating this over and over but this is extremely simple - someone is now dead because everyone who handled the firearm during this incident had the same poor attitude towards safety, so I'd suggest it's the "directly led to a death" attitude which is wrong and needs to change before anyone else gets killed by it.

^^^ this

This is the bottom line tbh.. and it amazes me that people are going to great lengths to try and argue with it. It's almost like firearms are being treated as some mythical thing here*, granted this particular type was old/unusual and in that case, the actor could say "show me" but the fact that it's not even apparent if the armourer was present and the AD + Baldwin seemingly didn't check anything with them then - all three have failed to take very basic safety precautions. If you're going to have a firearm in your possession and point it at someone then you really ought to know what state it is in.

*It's almost turned into a "there are no women on the internet" thing from some people in response to the idea that some other posters might have experience with firearms... clearly if they personally don't then anyone else must be an "armchair expert" too.

ANd he wasnt necessarily point it at somebody. He was practising a cross chest draw before filming and the gun discharged as he was drawing it from the reports I read. You make it soul like he was deliberately pointing it at the two people shot. The bullet could have hit anybody in the room or nobody.

That still involved pointing it at someone to be fair. She was in the line of fire wherever he was practicing, presumably, they were figuring out how best to film the scene etc.. (?)
 
Commissario
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He was practising a cross chest draw before filming and the gun discharged as he was drawing it from the reports I read.
The gun wouldn't have discharged by itself.

This is why ones finger shouldn't be anywhere near the trigger unless it's pointed at the intended target. But as an actor, probably not trained in firearms, he almost certainly took hold of the weapon with his finger on the trigger and snatched it as he drew it.

I've seen someone reload on a range during a match with their finger on the trigger. Before the RO caught them, that person managed an ND which took the end of his finger off.

That's why it's called a negligent discharge, not an accidental discharge.
 
Soldato
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^^^ this

This is the bottom line tbh.. and it amazes me that people are going to great lengths to try and argue with it. It's almost like firearms are being treated as some mythical thing here*, granted this particular type was old/unusual and in that case, the actor could say "show me" but the fact that it's not even apparent if the armourer was present and the AD + Baldwin seemingly didn't check anything with them then - all three have failed to take very basic safety precautions. If you're going to have a firearm in your possession and point it at someone then you really ought to know what state it is in.

*It's almost turned into a "there are no women on the internet" thing from some people in response to the idea that some other posters might have experience with firearms... clearly if they personally don't then anyone else must be an "armchair expert" too.



That still involved pointing it at someone to be fair. She was in the line of fire wherever he was practicing, presumably, they were figuring out how best to film the scene etc.. (?)

I haven't noticed posters claiming that no one in this thread has any experience with firearms, or disputing that guns are dangerous, or that there are established practices for safe gun use, or that things went badly wrong on this occasion. However, as far as I'm aware none of the expert posters here have experience of actually working on a modern movie set with prop guns and what we do know is that in such a situation an armourer is employed expressly to be in control of gun safety. Generally actors are expected to do what the director tells them and the bottom line is not that the actor should personally check the ammo or refuse to use a prop as directed. The bottom line is that the process failed and they need to find out why and whether it should be changed.

If change does come following this, will it be along the lines of making actors responsible for the props they are told to use on set and liable for any incidents that result from them failing to personally check ammunition etc? I think it more likely that there will be sanctions for directors of productions that don't follow the rules and that the existing process will be tightened (perhaps by introducing further sign off stages such as requiring a second qualified armourer to be present) or even that the use on set of guns capable of firing "real" ammo will be banned.
 
Caporegime
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He’d done and passed a safety course which was compulsory before entering a competition, he had to re do the course before he was allowed to compete again.

Lol. Yeah, not surprised he had to re do it. Screams of running before you can walk.
 
Caporegime
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The gun wouldn't have discharged by itself.

This is why ones finger shouldn't be anywhere near the trigger unless it's pointed at the intended target. But as an actor, probably not trained in firearms, he almost certainly took hold of the weapon with his finger on the trigger and snatched it as he drew it.

I've seen someone reload on a range during a match with their finger on the trigger. Before the RO caught them, that person managed an ND which took the end of his finger off.

That's why it's called a negligent discharge, not an accidental discharge.

But in a film scene he will need his finger on the trigger for the look


Take the famous scene from dirty harry

https://youtu.be/38mE6ba3qj8

Clint doesn't have his finger off the trigger for any moment and would be a lot less dramatic if he had it pointing down the side
 
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