At 24, Reed did not have much experience doing this. “Rust” was only her second film as lead armorer — and as details of the shooting emerge, many in the film industry have questioned her hiring; the shooting came just hours after the crew walked off the set, citing safety complaints and misfires.

On that day, according to the Santa Fe County County Sheriff’s Office search warrant affidavit obtained by the Associated Press, Reed prepared the three prop guns that were to be used in a scene by Baldwin. Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed one of those guns and handed it to Baldwin before the accident occurred, the affidavit said.

Peer of ‘Rust’ gun handler expresses shock: ‘I’m surprised any of this happened on her watch’

This is purely speculation on my part, so take it with the proverbial pound of salt.

I am an NRA certified Safety Officer and I was an IDPA Safety Officer for more than a decade. Your mission is simple: Make sure guns go off safely and the shooters and spectators go home with the same amount of blood they came in and no extra holes in them. You do that by not compromising the safety rules at all even if you are called names like asshole. In fact, the ability of being an asshole when needed is desired.

If I am a safety officer and I have people that have never shot with me, I will say words to the effect that I will not fuck around with safety and that I don’t care if you like me or not at the end of the day: You will be safe and act safely or you leave the range. Period.

How does that apply to Hannah Gutierrez Reed and the deadly shooting in Rust? Again, I am speculating, but I would not be surprised a bit if she was star-struck by the job and the actors.

Most everybody wants to be liked or at least not considered  meanies and that goes double if we meet somebody that makes us giggle and “squee” in celebrity palsy. We will relax our rules (sometimes unconsciously) so the objects of our admiration take a shine on us. Again, that is normal and even accepted behavior, but a deadly unacceptable one when it comes to gun safety.

There was a regular sanctioned IDPA match in a Southern State which I participated as Safety Office because it was a big deal and a feather for your S.O. cap. As expected, some of the “celebrity” shooters wearing them full sponsorship shirts,  attended and the Match Director/Owner was making certain they had a good time. Without going into details, let’s say that some hard calls were made by our stage’s lead S.O. and the Match Director/Owner took affront to the point of engaging in a shouting match with the lead S.O. and reversing his safety violation DQ call for a sweep with a loaded firearm.

That was the first and last time I ever attended that “super match” even as a plain shooter. I simply could not afford the responsibility of an injury nor being the recipient of one because the Match Director/Owner wanted to share beers and take selfies after the match with sponsored shooters.

If you have been involved in gun safety with live firearms, you know this well. You have been the recipient of anything from cute girls giggling and batting eyes to the Chest Thumper issuing veiled threats so you relax the rules and let them color outside the lines. And if you are any decent about our job, you went home with a full collection of insults, mainly among them is the word asshole. The funny part is that we take the word as a badge of honor and not an insult because it meant we curbed some unsafe idiot from doing stupid shit.

So I believe Ms. Reed, young as she is, may have been influenced by being around the Tinsel Town glitterati and also the prospect of drumming more business for the future. If you are not liked in Hollywood, you don’t get called even if you are the pinnacle of safety and make a movie look good. It is high-priced high-school behavior from the Dancing Monkeys.

Again, it is my opinion on just one of the many bad things that lead to an unnecessary death.

Hat Tip T Snabe

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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

19 thoughts on “My own speculation on the Baldwin/Rust Shooting Incident”
  1. I used to run a Shotgun Club and had to ban two Drs for sweeping the non shooters including my RO. They were brought by a club member who was a sales rep selling to them. He agreed they were dangerous and it was bad behavior and protested loudly they should not be banned as “they were Drs”

    Guess who was added to the banned list. In 5 years only 24 people were banned, the most foolish of which told my wife ‘i would not have broken the rules if I thought you were going to enforce them’ Well duh

  2. I thought along the same lines, a 24 year old girl trying to make a name for herself in the industry, dealing with older, more established, and famous actors/directors/etc. might not be willing to speak up to them. She might even let things slide a little, especially if nothing happened the first several times. People walking off the set doesn’t look good, though.

    That’s only part of the story, but an important part. I still can’t believe the part about using prop guns for live fire target practice between filming takes. WTH? I thought NO LIVE AMMO on set was one of the cardinal rules of safety for something like this. If that is true, then everyone involved should be hung with negligent homicide for such reckless behavior, including the producer.

    Of course we don’t have all the info yet, and some of the info we may have hasn’t been properly verified beyond someone on the internet said so. My gut feel is that any criminal complaint will evaporate and this will mostly get handled either in civil court and/or outside the court with a large pay out and a secrecy/no-sue agreement.

  3. All of that may be true, and it still sounds like incompetence is at play too. Read up about incidents in her first movie. She doesn’t have a clue what she is doing.

  4. I do not understand how the rules and filiming a scene in which you are required to point a gun at someone cannot be in conflict depending on how the camera is used. It seems you are always breaking the safe direction rule.

    1. From what I’ve read, the rule is to NOT point directly at someone, but use camera angles to make it appear that you are. For down the barrel shots, you use a remote camera. These procedures go back to John Wayne’s time.

      1. I can see that working, but there are definitely cases where you care in frame pointing directly at someone, such as the ol aerial mexican stand off. I’m sure in these cases you are supposed to be using a non functional prop… except if you need to fire it at the person with a blank….

        I don’t disagree here in principle, but I just don’t see how the rules can be rigidly met/followed in all circumstances.

        1. Mexican standoff. Think about the camera angles used. You’ve got your wide shot and your over the shoulder shots, right? The wide shots you just aim a bit to the side and the audience will never notice. The over the shoulder shot is even simpler, the target isn’t actually even there. The unmanned camera takes his place. This is assuming shots that use blanks. If the shot doesn’t even do that and is merely static, then you don’t even use firearms. You use non functional dummies and then you’re not breaking any rules because you’re not using firearms.

            1. On closer inspection you can clearly see they are. The barrels are solid. The “sights” don’t work. The hammers are enormous. All dummies. No rules broken. In a movie they would use more realistic ones, but still be dummies.

              1. The point is not that in this particular picture the guns are real or dummy, it was an extreme illustration of what I was talking about…

                I also continue to agree that dummy guns are used when and where possible in these sorts of shots…

                I also remain unconvinced the rules can be strictly obeyed in all circumstances in filming especially when the line between functional and blank firing may only be the ammunition used and angles and shots require certain actions and pointing in certain ways.

                I’m not a filmmaker, but sitting here I can imagine how strictly abiding the rules is not possible.

                Just because I can think of ways that it is not possible or imagine there is a scenario in which it is not possible does not mean I think that is a good thing, a good practice, or something I agree with.

                Hell we can’t even strictly follow the 4 rules ourselves, we are pointing a gun at our own ass when holstering. Obviously we don’t consider that a violation of the rules.

                I can imagine a variety of similar things and practices that get exceptions in the industry.

  5. Just in the description above, you can see Movie Armor errors. She was preparing three property guns (guns in control of the property master on set). “The assistant director grabbed one of the guns…”

    That is reason enough to stop everything.

    According to the union rules only the Armor is suppose to hand guns to actors. The armor is suppose to show the actor that it is unloaded and then load it with blanks in front of the actor before handing it to the actor. The actor is only suppose to have control of the gun from the time the camera starts rolling till the words cut.

    If they reset to do another take, then the armor goes through the entire process again.

    I’ve read that some armorers actual frisk actors before handing them a firearm just to make sure they don’t have any live ammo.

    Go read OldNFO’s blog for the rules all laid out nice an neat with links back to the original documents from the union about how guns are handled on set.

    So far I’ve got Alec, the assistant director, and the armorer all on the list as culpable people.
    Alec: Failed to follow gun safety rules, pulled the trigger firing the lethal shot.
    AD: Taking a gun from the armorer without verifying its safety. For touching the gun at all.
    Armorer: Allowing live ammo on set. Potentially allowing property guns to be used for “Target practice”. For allowing the AD to take a gun and not stopping everything. For other, as yet undocumented safety failures, such as training her actors on gun safety.

    N.B. I’ve stopped using the term “prop gun” and instead have started using “property gun” in order to reduce confusing word games. A “prop” gun has connotations that range from “hunk of plastic or rubber” up to “it’s the real thing”. As such many people are yapping about “it was a blank firing gun” or “It could only…” or a dozen other types of “prop guns”.

    A “property gun” is a FIREARM that is owned or in control of the *property master* and through the property master, the armorer. There is nothing fake about it, it is the real deal.

    1. I was wondering about the business of some random flunky (assistant director) touching a gun. It helps that you confirm there are union rules about that — quite apart from the fact that it’s also an obvious safety matter.

      It would be interesting to speculate what would happen if people who touch a gun on set were required to have a CA firearms license? How many of them could even get such a license? Big name actors obviously have the political pull for that, others might not. It would be an interesting thing to agitate for. Goose for the gander, etc…

      1. Most Cali laws have carve outs for the movie industry.

        The union rules have exceptions for the armorer designating others to do some of the armorers work.

        Regardless, that assistant DA made a call of “cold gun” when it wasn’t a cold gun. They didn’t verify themselves, they should not have said it.

  6. On a mailing list I was pointed at a professional article from 2 years ago: https://ascmag.com/blog/filmmakers-forum/filming-with-firearms

    Very good, and amazing to see the dozens of ways in which what it describes as normal practice differs from what we’ve been told about Baldwin’s outfit. The bit about camera angles is in there. The other thing to remember about “standoff” scenes is that they are typically an edit of a bunch of takes and camera angles. You see the scene of a “gun” aimed at the other guy; you see the scene of a gun being fired. But they aren’t the same scene, the same camera angle, or the same gun.

    The only quibble I have with the article I mentioned above is the bit about demonstrating your confidence in your safety procedures by placing yourself (the armorer) in the “line of fire”. While that’s a good way to show you trust your work, it nevertheless is an intentional violation of the Second Law and I don’t like it.

  7. Therefore is correct. On my blog today, I have links to the union safety requirements. There were MULTIPLE violations sigh… Also, Baldwin is notorious for being overbearing and firing those that did not do exactly what he wanted. I’m sure this played into this relationship. Reed was young and just starting. This was a cheap production, so Baldwin wasn’t going to pay for an ‘established’ armorer, who would not have been awed by him.

  8. Considering that Hollywood has to have really stupid and unstable people pointing guns at each other on a regular basis- most of which are real guns firing blanks, well, they actually have a pretty good safety record.

    So, what they normally do shouldn’t be questioned, because it works. Especially when one of the very rare accidents happened because they didn’t follow the long established rules and procedures.

    1. Agreed, the normal procedures seem reasonable enough, as I mentioned in the article link below (with the one exception I pointed out).
      So by available evidence, Baldwin and friends went again normal procedures in a large number of ways, and they should have the book — or perhaps an entire library — thrown at them.

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