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Calls to ban guns on film sets grow after fatal shooting

October 24, 2021

After the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a petition calling for a ban on live firearms on Hollywood film sets has gathered more than 15,000 signatures.

Candles are lit around a photo of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a candlelight vigil in Albuquerque
Halyna Hutchins died on Thursday after she was shot by actor Alec Baldwin with a prop gun on a New Mexico film setImage: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo/picture alliance

The death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has led to renewed calls by many in Hollywood to ban real guns on movie sets.

A petition on the website change.org calling for a ban on live firearms on film sets and better working conditions for film crews gathered more than 15,000 signatures by Sunday.

"There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century," says the petition launched by Bandar Albuliwi, a screenwriter and director.

On Thursday, US actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the New Mexico set of the film "Rust," killing the 42-year-old Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her. Police are still investigating the shooting.

Push for bill banning live ammunition

California State Senator Dave Cortese said on Saturday that there was "an urgent need to address alarming work abuses and safety violations occurring on the set of theatrical productions, including unnecessary high-risk conditions such as the use of live firearms."

Cortese said he wants to push a bill banning live ammunition on film sets in the state of California.

Police drama "The Rookie" announced the day after Hutchins' death that it was banning all live ammunition from its set, according to The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Armorer, assistant director focus of probe

The gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist had placed on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to court records.

Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed a gun from a cart and gave it to Baldwin, indicating that the weapon was safe by yelling "cold gun," court papers say. The gun, however, was loaded with live rounds, according to the records.

Baldwin is cooperating with the police probe. The investigation has focused on the specialist in charge of the weapon, armorer Hannah Gutierrez, and Halls, court records say.

Crew member accuses assistant director of negligence

Crew member Maggie Goll said in a statement on Sunday that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of the "Into the Dark'' series in 2019 over concerns about assistant director Halls' behavior on set.

Goll said Halls ignored safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after a crew member had "slipped into a diabetic fugue state.''

"To my knowledge nothing was done after my complaints," she said. "I am gutted at not pushing harder for greater accountability and safety. Many of us have messaged each other wondering the same thing: is there something we could have done then that would have prevented the tragedy?''

mvb/fb (AFP, AP, Reuters)