Beloved actor and producer Alec Baldwin is now involved in one of the most tragic and easily avoided on set accidents in recent film history. On Thursday, October 21st, Baldwin was on set for a new Western movie “Rust” in Santa Fe, New Mexico when he fired off a prop gun that killed Halyna Hutchins (director of photography) and injured Joel Souza (director).

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Baldwin was hysterical, crying outside the sheriff’s office and frantically on the phone. Baldwin, an avid proponent for gun control, was told the gun was “cold”, and the shooting was deemed “an accidental weapon discharge.”

While this is all a true and true tragedy, it begs the question why safety protocols regarding guns are not more rigorous. For that matter, why are weapons with the ability to do so much harm not being substituted for alternative, non-deadly sound effects movies where they’re needed?

According to the Associated Press, from 1990 to today there have been 43 deaths on set of movies and TV and 150 serious injuries. While cases like Hutchins are extremely rare and tragic, they are not impossible. In 1993, Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, was tragically killed thanks to an alleged blank that was shot at him, which turned out to be real. He was killed instantly.

This provokes a bigger issue, one that is highly controversial in the common world let alone Hollywoodare guns ethical? Surely in a time when movies themselves can be made fully in CGI with the most high-tech effects of all time, they can make phony guns. This doesn’t always help though, as even blanks can eject toxins and harmful emissions.

Hollywood’s Safety Bulletin by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Review states that prop firearms on set should be “treated as if they are loaded.” However, there is still clearly a lot missing from this memo, when accidents like this are still happening in 2021no matter how rare. 

As for Alec Bladwin, no charges have been filed, and he is a “free man.” He took to twitter, saying: “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. I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

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