Alec Baldwin Says Police Officers Are Needed On-Set To Monitor Gun Safety

"Rust" actor and producer Alec Baldwin has come out in favor of law enforcement on film sets to ensure firearms safety, calling for cops to be employed by producers of any film or show that uses guns. The move comes after a tragic shooting incident during the filming of "Rust" on October 21 that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. The actor had been told that the weapon was a "cold gun," indicating that it did not have any live rounds.

In a tweet from his private account (which he also posted on his Instagram page) Baldwin writes, "Every film/TV set that uses guns, fake or otherwise, should have a police officer on set, hired by the production, to specifically monitor weapons safety."

The task that Baldwin describes is one that typically falls under the purview of the props master or the armorer on set. The armorer for "Rust," Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (daughter of veteran Hollywood armorer Thell Reed), has since faced scrutiny over the incident, as weapons and ammunition security was her responsibility. Her lawyers have since suggested that the live round from the shooting could have been planted by disgruntled saboteurs, a statement "Rust" camera operator Lane Luper has called "irresponsible, slanderous, and quite frankly just disgusting" (per THR). Since the incident, Baldwin has since removed himself from the public eye, and according to People he has been canceling future projects for the time being.

Camera Operator Speaks Out

A camera operator of the crew that walked off the "Rust" set in New Mexico has broken his silence since the incident. In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lane Luper, the A-camera first assistant on "Rust," details what went down before Alec Baldwin fatally shot director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza during a rehearsal.

"The negligent [gun] discharges on Oct. 16 was a big safety concern that I had brought up with the unit production manager, and it was immediately dismissed. We had a special effects explosion on the third day of filming that went off over the crew. There was really poor weapons handling skills. And yeah, the housing issue was an issue. I had an hour drive every day to [the set] and an hour drive from [the set], plus getting ready in the morning and trying to get to bed at night.

"I was running on five hours of sleep, six hours of sleep sometimes. I was tired, and it was a punishingly difficult show: eight pages where you have to hand-carry a majority of the film equipment — these cameras are heavy; COVID was a huge issue because they would pack the passenger vans completely full [and] people would have their masks down. And then my crew didn't receive paychecks. They received a small advance that didn't include their entire pay. And as a matter of fact, I actually just got a text message today that they're still missing pay."

The whole ordeal has affected the cast and crew heavily. "Everybody's going in and out of these cycles of depression," Luper told THR, "Several of my friends don't even want to go back to work. Everybody has a level of PTSD from this, especially people that were there."

'Rust' Hired An Armorer Mentor

Via the Los Angeles Times, an internal crew list for "Rust" reveals that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who is 24, was only the first weapons armorer on the set. In late September, production secured the services of weapons expert Seth Kenney, owner of a licensed Lake Havasu City, Ariz., weapons and props rental company. Kenney was hired as an "armorer mentor," though it's unclear at this point how involved he was with production or weapons security. According to a source close to the production who was not authorized to comment, it was Kenney who suggested Gutierrez-Reed for the armorer gig, and Kenney who provided the guns used for the film, including the FD Pietta Colt .45 gun used during the Oct. 21 rehearsal at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Santa Fe Sheriff's detectives are still looking into the shooting and trying to locate the source of the live ammunition that was brought onto the film set. District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has stated to the New York Times that while the investigation may take months, "Everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table."

Who Called 911?

As new details and a clearer picture emerge in the wake of the "Rust" incident, some answers still elude investigators. In a 911 recording from the Santa Fe County Regional Emergency Communications Center, "Rust" script supervisor Mamie Mitchell reported the incident as "two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun." She told the emergency dispatcher that the gun went off during a rehearsal and prompted the cast and crew to run out of the room. Asked if the gun was loaded with a real bullet, Mitchell replied, "I cannot tell you. We have two injuries, and this ******* [assistant director] that yelled at me at lunch, asking about revisions ... He's supposed to check the guns. He's responsible for what happens on the set.

Mamie Mitchell is represented by Gloria Allred, an attorney known for high-profile cases. Allred said Tuesday that the firm is also conducting its own investigation "because there are many unanswered questions." She said to ABC News:

Halyna was a friend and close colleague of Mamie. She is devastated by the loss of her friend who was an extraordinary woman. Mamie has been interviewed by the Sheriff's Department. She has information and evidence which she believes will be helpful in this investigation.