The New Mexico Film Foundation brought local filmmakers together Saturday for a “Film Crawl” tour to share business resources that support the independent film industry.

The event began with a gathering at the Wesst building on Broadway, where Daniel Moen, a stuntman for Rising Star Stunt Team in Albuquerque, gave a demonstration about steps of precaution when handling a prop gun.
Alyssa Munoz, NM Film Foundation highlights gun safety on film sets, KOAT, (last visited Jul. 10, 2023)

This “Film Crawl” came about because Alec Baldwin shot and killed his cameraman. I believe that we can all agree that Alec Baldwin is guilty of manslaughter at the very least. Likely murder.

The short of it was that he took a pistol that he might have thought was unloaded, pointed at his cameraman, and pulled the trigger. This resulted in the death of his cameraman and injury to his director.

Now Alec is a trained monkey. He is supposed to hit his mark and say his lines with the right emotion. Ne is not expected to be a firearm guru.

He is expected to know the four safety rules, and to follow them. If he is not following them, there damn well better be no other way to do it, and every safety precaution should be taken.

Moen used prop guns ranging from a handgun made from a 3D printer to an assault rifle. Throughout the demonstration, he allowed people from the audience to check the chamber of the gun. His next step was to make it known that he was about to shoot, and fired in a direction away from everyone.

I have some snap-caps, but not for every caliber. Most of the time I don’t need them, or I use just a case. After learning of the Rust incident, I learned a bit more about safety on set and made up a few dummy rounds for testing feeding or loading issues.

Every dummy round has an expended primer in it or hot glue. There are NO pristine primers. If the primer has no dimple, it is a live round.

Each dummy round has two metal BB’s in it. If you shake the dummy round, you can hear the BB’s rattling around in there.


  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  • Never point your firearm at something you are not willing to destroy or kill
  • Make sure you identify your target and what is beyond it.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Even when I KNOW it is a dummy round, I do not point the firearm at anything I’m not willing to destroy, and I treat it as if it has live ammo in it.

According to Moen, depending on the intensity of the gun scene, actors have to go through trainings for months to possibly a year. He said there are many precautions to ensure gun safety on set, but the main one is: don’t bring a real gun.

I had issues with feeding on one of my Winchester ’94s (post ’64). This meant that I was running the lever and watching how it feed into the chamber. This would cause there to be a round in the chamber with the hammer back, cocked. A mistake could have caused the hammer to drop. Using dummy rounds made this safer.

I was having issues loading rounds into my r92. A couple of dummy rounds let me get things figured out in a safer way.

If I’m working with dummy rounds, there are no live rounds in the area. I can’t say room because often I’m doing work on the dinning room table and there are live rounds and magazines in the dining room.

On the Rust set, they were using the “prop” guns for target practice. All the guns used were real guns. They were not disabled in any fashion. Put a live round in them, pull the trigger, “BANG”. And the crew at least was using them for target practice.

“No real guns, no ammunition on set, especially these days where you can edit everything else in. It’s a little extra for another team you pay, but it’s the literal lives you save,” Moen said.

This meant that people were bringing live rounds onto the set. A big NO NO NO.

They were putting live rounds into a prop gun. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

The production team was rushing the armorer (unconfirmed), which led to a pistol with live rounds being taken by the 2ndassistant, who declared it “cold”. It does not appear that the armorer had checked the weapon to verify it was “cold” and the 2nd assistant didn’t either.

Then Alec took that gun, did not verify it was cold. There is a statement that actors are not allowed to check if the gun they are handed is cold, “for safety reasons”. If Alec had opened the loading gate, rotated the cylinder 7 times, he would have been able to see the unfired primer on at least one of the cartridges loaded.

He didn’t. He pulled the hammer back. Pointed the gun at a person, and pulled the trigger. The gun performed exactly as designed and fired the round.

Terry Futschik, executive director for New Mexico Film Foundation, said that the incident created a change in the industry.


Alyssa Munoz, NM Film Foundation highlights gun safety on film sets, KOAT, (last visited Jul. 10, 2023)
Spread the love

By awa

2 thoughts on “It isn’t the tool, NM Film Foundation version”
  1. I’m far from a pro, but have done some video shooting. There is no reason to ever point even a prop gun at anyone on a set. There’s always an angle or some trick that let’s it LOOK like the gun is pointing towards someone, when it’s not.

  2. Excellent post. Further damning evidence is he’s talked about how he’s a responsible gun owner (unlike us unwashed masses) in the past when stumping for gun control.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.