LA City Councilman Introduces A Resolution To Ban Live Guns And Ammunition On Film And TV Sets At A State Level

In the wake of the accidental on-set shooting last week that left "Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead, a member of the Los Angeles City Council has introduced a resolution to ban live guns and ammo from the set of film and television productions.

According to Deadline, councilman Paul Koretz introduced the resolution and is not the only government official who supports such legislation. The "Rust" incident occurred in Bonanza City near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and earlier this week (via The Albuquerque Journal), state governor Lujan Grisham issued her own statement at a news conference, saying the state is prepared to introduce "very specific accountable safeguards" if the film industry does not step up to do it.

In his remarks, Koretz referenced actors Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum, who were famously killed by on-set weapons during the production of "The Crow" and "Cover-Up," respectively. He said:

"While movies can be convincing and very realistic — they are supposed to be make-believe — a single gun accident, let alone a fatality like the one that occurred on the Rust set and the ones that killed Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum, [can] destroy the lives of not only the victims and their families, but the lives of the other actors and crew who forever after are burdened with the emotional trauma of avoidable accidents."

'The Clear Solution is Banishing Guns and Live Ammunition'

Koretz continued:

"The idea that even one misfire has caused danger is outrageous. The clear solution is banishing live guns and ammunition from the sets of television and motion picture productions to eliminate all possibility of human error in the handling of weapons so that flawless oversight and restrictions guarantee that these kinds of accidents never happen again."

Actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharged the gun that killed Hutchins, and questions have arisen over the accountability of producers and the chain of crew members involved in putting a weapon with live ammo into his hands. Unionized members of the "Rust" camera crew had walked off the set earlier that day to protest working conditions and were replaced with non-union crew members.

Because of this, the "Rust" incident has dovetailed with wider discussions that were underway beforehand about industry working conditions, something the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) had been negotiating to improve. In a statement on its website, the Local 480 chapter of the IATSE said it was "inexcusable" under the circumstances that the producers of "Rust" brought in "non-union persons in craft positions."

Questions About Safety Protocol

A search warrant affidavit for the prop truck where the gun that killed Hutchins was stored offers new details from interviews that local investigators conducted with assistant director David Halls and armor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

As reported in Variety, Gutierrez-Reed's statements indicate that she checked the gun earlier in the day but that it was kept on an unsecured cart during the crew's lunch break. The weapon was meant to utilize dummy rounds, but Hall admitted that he should have checked the full drum for live or "hot" rounds before handing it to Baldwin and indicating that it was a "cold gun."

The full affidavit, which refers to the Affiant (or person who wrote it), includes this explanation:

"When Affiant asked David about the safety protocol on set in regards to firearms, he advised, 'I check the barrel for obstructions, most of the time there's no live fire, she (Hannah) opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say cold gun on set.' David advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised he should have checked all of the rounds, but didn't, and couldn't recall if she spun the drum."