Official Warrant Reveals Alec Baldwin Was Unknowingly Handed A Weapon With Live Rounds On The Set Of Rust

New information has come out about the heartbreaking fatal shooting that occurred during the production of an indie Western titled "Rust." According to a Santa Fe court document (via The Hollywood Reporter), an assistant director unknowingly handed the film's star and co-producer, Alec Baldwin, a gun with live rounds in the chamber. It's still unclear if the gun was fired during a take or rehearsal, but when it was fired, the film's cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was struck and killed, and director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was injured. Hutchins died from her injury and Souza is recovering.

A Life Cut Short

This tragic event has shaken Hollywood to its core, happening after weeks of demands from the labor union IATSE who have said that productions are cutting corners and jeopardizing the lives of its members with long hours and not enough attention to on-set safety. 

Accidents involving guns on set are rare, thanks in large part to stringent rules put into place after the death of Brandon Lee while filming "The Crow." The court appears to be actively investigating how negligent the production was.

Typically a set with working guns has an armorer or weapons expert there to ensure these kinds of accidents don't happen. This position isn't just for anyone to fill, it's a specific union job (IATSE Local 44) that requires specific training. As more and more information comes out about the incident, it seems that such a trained individual was not present.

A live round ending up in a prop gun isn't a random tragedy, it's a blatant flaunting of the safety procedures in place, which specifically bars live ammunition from film sets except under very specific circumstances that requires permissions and paperwork and oversight.

The Eyes of the Industry and the World Are on This Investigation

While Baldwin has been the face of this tragedy, it's not the actor's responsibility to know if they have been handed a "hot gun" on set. There are typically many stages of inspection each firearm has to go through before it reaches an actor's hands whenever any blank is to be fired in a scene. 

Where Baldwin might find some culpability is in his role as producer, although it's unclear how involved he was in the hiring process and day to day efforts that go into keeping a film set running smoothly. Many times an actor receives a producer credit for helping to put a film together, sometimes by cutting their usual rates or helping find the money. 

The eyes of the industry and the world are on this investigation. This could spark a change in Hollywood. Already there are calls to remove all firearms from movie sets going forward. While it's becoming clearer the more we hear about this incident that safety protocols weren't followed, the argument is that totally fake guns can be used with a little digital trickery and lighting magic to avoid this ever happening again. Rules are only worthwhile if they're followed.