Gun Safety on the Set

  • Gun Safety on the Set

    Posted by Kim on 2021-10-25 at 6:11 AM

    It has to be a systematic checking system in place to make sure weapons are not loaded with live rounds and maybe even the actor should be responsible for a final check before firing a black. They should know what blanks look like and be able to know the difference between live ammunition and a blank. Also, check inside the barrel. As far as the recent incident on the production “Rust” where Alec Baldwin killed the cinematographer and injured the director, I don’t understand why he was pointing the gun at anyone or why he fired the gun. Was it a take or a rehearsal? It’s not clear to me exactly why the gun was shot and why it was aimed at the cinematographer. A gun should never be pointed at a person on set for any reason and you would think that someone with as much experience as Baldwin has would know that.

    Maura replied 5 months ago 4 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Safety on the Set

    Fred Ginsburg CAS PhD

    Member
    2021-10-25 at 11:31 PM

    The story gets even worse! Apparently, the “prop” gun was used for recreational plinking, using live rounds (not blanks). Why would anyone risk using a prop on a desert firing range, and if so — that weapon needed to be checked, re-checked, and checked again. Makes no sense. But none of the negligence shown on that film set makes any sense at all. Non-firing replicas are cheap and easy to rent or purchase — so why use a functioning firearm? And every one who has ever been taught about guns knows that you check the chamber every single time the gun changes hands.

  • Safety on the Set

    Kim

    Organizer
    2021-10-27 at 6:00 PM

    I still don’t understand why the gun was pointed at the cinematographer. Someone emailed me that it might have been a shot of him shooting the gun so that it was pointed at the camera. I guess that is possible.

  • Safety on the Set

    Kevin

    Member
    2021-12-16 at 10:06 AM

    Old thread, but maybe worth clearing a few things up, without getting into the specifics of the RUST accident:

    Telling blanks from live ammo is generally pretty easy; the front of a blank has either a crimp or some kind of wadding/cover, the front of a live round has a bullet.

    The problem comes in with Dummy Rounds, because the whole point is that they look like real rounds, complete with bullets. Sometimes we can get away with using dummy rounds with fired primers, so you can spot them by the dimple in the back, but if we ever see the back end that doesn’t work. Sometimes people will load bbs in them so they can tell by shaking them (if they rattle, they’re dummy). Sounds like the ones on Rust maybe had a hole in the side of the casing. Problem is, most of those you can’t tell when it’s loaded in a prop, you have to take it out and inspect it, which the 1st AD and actor didn’t do.

    It’s pretty common to use dummy rounds with real (or fake) revolvers, because you can see the bullets sitting in the cylinder when it’s loaded (or see that they’re missing when it’s not)… at least when viewed from the front, which this shot was obviously set up to be. That means crews have to be extra careful about what type of prop is used, checking ammo types, shot angles, safe handling practices, etc. when doing a shot like that.

    Normally there is a process in place. The armorer or gun wrangler should have personally checked every item before and after use, chosen the safest option for the job at hand (this being a camera setup rehearsal it could have been a dummy, although rubber does tend to make quick-draws hard) and personally handed it off to the performer when needed, telling them its status and what actions to take with it in this shot, then taking it back again as soon as it wasn’t needed. It should have been locked up any time it wasn’t under their direct supervision (them or their trained assistants).

    And of course there shouldn’t have been live ammo on set to begin with.

    So many multiple failures of the normal protocol had to happen here for this accident to occur.

  • Safety on the Set

    Kim

    Organizer
    2021-12-16 at 10:21 AM

    Thanks, Kevin, I may be working on a set with guns and prop guns in a couple of weeks.

  • Safety on the Set

    Maura

    Member
    2021-12-17 at 2:20 AM

    Hey Kevin,
    Thanks for the explanation! 🙂 Now I finally understood this topic.