Alec Baldwin Killed One, Injured Another—in Firearms “Accident”

Alec Baldwin Killed One, Injured Another—in Firearms “Accident”

Alec Baldwin Killed One, Injured Another—in Firearms “Accident”

Tragically Thursday, Anti-Second Amendment spokesperson, Alec Baldwin killed a cinematographer and injured a director on the set of his current movie project.

Details are sketchy so far from the incident, however enough is known to draw solid conclusions.

First, and most important Halyna Hutchins, a young cinematographer in the prime of her life and career, is deceased. Her son no longer has a mother. Her husband no longer has a wife.

Director Joel Souza, was wounded in the shoulder and is reportedly released from the hospital.

To review, the four rules of firearm safety that anyone and everyone must know when handling firearms are:

First, treat all firearms as though they are loaded. Until you have checked and double checked, it is loaded. Act accordingly.

Second, do NOT point the muzzle of a firearm towards anything you aren’t willing to kill or destroy.

Third, do NOT put your finger on the trigger until you have your target in sight and have made the conscious decision to shoot.

Fourth, know what is behind your target. Don’t shoot if you don’t have an answer to that question.

Above and beyond those rules, firearm handling on movie sets incorporate more extreme protocols because of the huge potential for an accident.

“The level of protocol and safety that we tend to have on any production of any size, when you get down to handling weapons, guns, it’s so involved that the fact that a gun went off and killed Halyna is both shocking from an industry point of view and just absolutely tragic from the point of view of knowing this amazing artist who suddenly not with us.”

Let’s just dispel with the media spin right from the start. Put this incident in your search engine, and every single headline from the mainstream media will have “prop gun” in the title. You will notice the headline to this story does not.

There is no such thing as a “prop gun” if you take the four rules of firearm safety seriously. Prop guns can be deadly and should be treated like any firearm, including applying the four rules of firearm safety to them when handling them.

“…blanks contain materials such as cotton, paper or wax wadding attached to the front to imitate live-fire — including a loud bang, muzzle flash and a realistic recoil. Still, even without real metal projectiles, blanks can be very dangerous… because some filmmakers use extra powder to make the superheated gas discharge even more realistic.”

A firearm is a firearm. If you’re a little zealous about firearm safety, like me, when my kids were little, they weren’t allowed to point a Nerf gun at a person. Why? Because I don’t want them to develop the muscle memory of pointing a fake firearm at a human. Instead, I want them to develop the muscle memory to only point firearms—any firearm—at a designated target. Period. If I, and I’m not the only one, am that overly cautious for Nerf guns, imagine how overly cautious anyone should be over a potentially deadly “prop gun”.

If there is an firearms accident, at least one of the four rules of firearms safety was ignored. In this case, with two victims, twice ignored.

First, did Baldwin treat the firearm he had as though it was loaded. No. If he knew it was loaded—even with blanks–human decency even for him, dictates he would not have pointed it at a person.

Second, did he point the muzzle of the firearm away from something he wasn’t willing to kill or destroy. No. Twice.

Third, did he have his finger on the trigger? Yes. This is the one that galls me. If no other firearms safety rule is followed, if you follow this one, you can escape danger. But no, he had his finger on the trigger, and shot…twice. Two victims.

Baldwin, not known for being silent or muted on Twitter, took a somber tone.

That’s great, Alec, but for those of us who take the responsibility of firearms safety serious, you have a lot of explaining to do and humility to demonstrate. Actor Adam Baldwin, no relation, who has experience on movie sets using firearms or “prop guns” is letting the world know, Alec’s actions were positively irresponsible.

Going back a few years let’s remember a little Twitter war Baldwin had with Dana Loesch over the Second Amendment. Something about morals, stacking bodies, blah blah blah.

To Alec Baldwin, you might want to rethink your Second Amendment moral high ground stance. The protected Constitutional rights we have as Americans are sacred. Before taking to Twitter announcing your stance on crushing the Constitutional rights of Americans, stacking bodies and whatever else progressive-leaning garbage is floating in your head comes forward; take a firearms safety class. Follow the rules–to a T–regarding firearms. You don’t get a pass because you’re super special and you’re Alec Baldwin when it comes to firearms safety. The loaded prop gun in your hand doesn’t give two poops what your current Twitter status is.

To the family and friends of Halyna Hutchins, our deepest sorrows to you.

Featured Image: Alec Baldwin by Gage Skidmore via Flickr, license CC Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic, cropped.

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  • Dana says:

    Two obvious questions: Why were there ANY live rounds on the set or with the armorer? And why was the very much anti-gun Mr Baldwin both acting an and producing a Western, a movie theme that depicts a lot of gunfire?

    • Bucky says:

      Also: why was a prop movie gun even capable of firing live ammo?

      • GWB says:

        For realism, a movie gun needs to actually fire blank ammunition. This requires a firearm that is essentially the same as a normal, day-to-day firearm. Revolvers could possibly be modified so you get the effect of smoke out the muzzle and recoil, but no chance of launching anything. Bolt/lever action rifles could too. But everything else (e.g., semi-automatic) requires the actual firing of a round to actuate the system for loading the next round. Because if Tommy’s Vickers or Norris’ M16 or Wick’s handguns don’t cycle, someone will complain about lousy movie-making.

        In general, though, interfering with the normal path of gases in a firearm makes bad things happen. (See images of revolvers with blown apart backstraps.)

        If you want them to be ALL CGI now, that’s fine. Expect your movie ticket prices to go up even more.

  • I add one more rule for any firearm (loaded or unloaded) of mine. It is NEVER out of my direct control without ensuring that the person who does have it is fully trained. It is in MY hands, in the holster (for the Glock), or in the locked safe. I would never just leave it on a table, even at a range.

  • Tim Nachtsheim says:

    How were two people shot? Please explain. Forget this asses politics. I’m a vet, well trained in the safe handling and operation of firearms. How were two people shot? Multiple trigger pulls with a so called prop gun? Come on man!

    • Hate_me says:

      From what I’ve read (actual facts seem to be slow in coming), the same projectile passed through Hutchins’ chest before striking Souza in the clavicle.

      That makes me believe it was something other than the standard blank would release.

  • Richard says:

    No ‘accident’ while simpleton fawning media promotes it as being so. Fact is that Baldwin has a very long history of being a highly disturbed individual consumed by violence and hate for just about anyone around, including members of his own family. He should be locked up posthaste, key tossed away, and forgotten forever.

  • Bruce says:

    The “fog” has descended in force over this event.

    Recent news reports all clearly state that LIVE ammunition was in the gun.

    In the UNLIKELY event this is true, there are only two ways this could have happened: Criminal Malice or Criminal Incompetence..

    If the gun were NOT immediately put down by the holder and NOT touched by ANYONE else before the police arrived, the “trail” will have been corrupted beyond redemption.

    Only sworn statements from all present and un-corrupted forensic evidence will shed light on a lot of this.

    However, LSM “opinion-shapers” gotta opinion-shape.

  • Blackwing1 says:

    You wrote:

    “Third, did he have his finger on the trigger? Yes. This is the one that galls me. If no other firearms safety rule is followed, if you follow this one, you can escape danger. But no, he had his finger on the trigger, and shot…twice. Two victims.”

    I believe that this will turn out not to be the case. From the secondary reports now coming out it appears that the projectile from a single shot from a revolver passed through the chest of the first person and had sufficient velocity to cause a significant wound to the collarbone of the second.

    For ANYONE, whether actor, prop master, producer, or director, to pick up a firearm without automatically checking to see if it is A) Loaded, and B) Loaded with blanks (easily discernible from live ammunition) is a violation of every piece of safety training ever given to anyone who is going to handle firearms. With a pistol you perform a magazine check and chamber check, with a revolver you perform a cylinder check, with any long arm the same equivalent. To fail to do so, and then to deliberately point an unchecked firearm at someone and pull the trigger, is gross negligence of the highest order.

    Given that the film being made was an 1880’s-era western, it is most likely that the revolver in question was a single-action piece. So not only did he pick it up (or have it handed to him) and fail to verify that it was unloaded, he also had to cock it (by pulling the hammer all the way back through three different latching points to the fourth fully cocked position, he then had to deliberately pull the trigger while pointing it at not just one but two human beings.

    If this were anybody other than a left-wing anti-gun fanatic they would be in jail, awaiting charges, right now. But he’s in the second-tier of our 3-tiered legal system, and will thus walk away while blaming someone, anyone, else for his grossly negligent conduct in aiming a lethal weapon at someone and pulling a trigger.

    • GWB says:

      B) Loaded with blanks (easily discernible from live ammunition)
      Not entirely true. At least, not from the back – which is all you can see if you only do a cylinder check with a revolver. Every other weapon You can see the tip of the round, but not necessarily so with a revolver (depends on the depth of the cylinder compared to the length of the round). It would be easy to extract the rounds and see, but I’m sure the prop master doesn’t want an actor fiddling with the firearm like that. A small flashlight looking down the bore end of the cylinder would likely show bullets vs crimps, though.

      (by pulling the hammer all the way back through three different latching points to the fourth fully cocked position
      I am not sure that a cowboy single action has four latching points. And, while it’s possible the armorer was using a modern replica of a western-era firearm, it’s very likely it was a firearm without modern safety innovations. (It’s also possible it was actually a double-action replica. I’ve seen lots of double-action play in westerns.)

      • Blackwing1 says:


        The vast majority of revolvers used in the post-Civil War west were single-action. Probably the most iconic of these was the Colt SAA (aka, “The Peacemaker”). Assuming an authentic revolver of such a type was used, it would have had the traditional 4 notches in the hammer going from fully-down to fully-cocked. The noise of fully-cocking an SAA is also iconic itself.

        The responsibility to check the cylinder of a revolver is completely and 100% the responsibility of the person who takes control of it, whether it’s picked up or handed to him. It’s stunningly simple to examine the front of a cartridge in a revolver; point the gun at the sky and peer at the front of the cylinder from the side (being cautious to avoid pointing the muzzle towards you) and the front of the bullet of a live round is easily visible.

        All of this nonsense is emergency crisis management BS to a fully possible muddy the water to remove responsibility for a death from the person who committed the actions that led to it.
        1). He handled the revolver, and completely failed to determine whether or not it was loaded with live rounds.
        2). He deliberately pointed it at another person.
        3). He pulled the trigger.
        4. He failed to note what was behind his target (the second victim).

        This pretty much meets the definition of involuntary manslaughter in the state of New Mexico.

        • GWB says:

          Thank you for the info on the Peacemaker. I was thinking those four notches were a modern safety invention.

          As to responsibility, there are at least 4 people responsible for the death: Baldwin, the Asst Director, the Armorer, and the Producer (also Baldwin!). The fact there’s 4 of them doesn’t dilute the responsibility among the first 3 – any one of them following the rules would have broken the chain.

  • GWB says:

    There is no such thing as a “prop gun” if you take the four rules of firearm safety seriously.
    This is not true. There ARE weapons which are actually nothing more than props – that is, they do not fire, cannot have ammunition placed in them, and they require some form of CGI to produce the “live fire” you see on the screen. Gun trainers use them all the time.

    Because I don’t want them to develop the muscle memory of pointing a fake firearm at a human.
    Sorry, but that’s ridiculous.

    If there is an firearms accident, at least one of the four rules of firearms safety was ignored.
    Not necessarily. Andrew Branca did a great post on Legal Insurrection talking about the difference between an “accident”, “negligence”, and “reckless behavior”. An accident would (in the legal sense) be a failure of the weapon to perform, or perhaps someone wandering into your range while you’re shooting. Not following one of the rules is, at a minimum, negligence. This is important because it goes to culpability. An accident has no culpability. Negligence does.

    The facts, as they stand right now, are that a single shot killed one and injured another. (This is why people talking self-defense rounds get into the idea of “over-penetration”.) It was clearly not a blank round (though a blank can kill in the right circumstances). Since Baldwin claims he received a “cold” gun (meaning no rounds of any kind were loaded) he has some culpability for not checking said weapon. There was also “plinking” going on, on set, using the ‘prop’ guns. This makes the producer and armorer culpable, as well. They had reportedly had safety incidents prior to this one (possibly including weapons-related ones), leading to many of the union folks walking off the set.

  • […] the filming of a scene or a rehearsal, or while goofing around—this tragedy was preventable. The four rules of firearms safety should always be followed, of course. Ingenious and creative ways to shoot scenes to prevent anyone […]

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