On Thursday, the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office is set to charge Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 shooting on the movie set of “Rust” that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and director Joel Souza wounded.
The Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) released a statement regarding charges in the “Rust” tragedy.
SAG-AFTRA is a labor union which represents more than 150,000 film and TV actors, journalists, radio personalities, recording artists, voice actors, and other media professionals.
“The death of Halyna Hutchins is a tragedy, and all the more so because of its preventable nature. It is not a failure of duty or a criminal act on the part of any performer,” SAG-AFTRA released. “The prosecutor’s contention that an actor has a duty to ensure the functional and mechanical operation of a firearm on a production set is wrong and uninformed. An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert. Firearms are provided for their use under the guidance of multiple expert professionals directly responsible for the safe and accurate operation of that firearm. In addition, the employer is always responsible for providing a safe work environment at all times, including hiring and supervising the work of professionals trained in weapons.
The union went on to say, “The Industry Standards for safety with firearms and use of blank ammunition are clearly laid out in Safety Bulletin 1, provided by the Joint Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Commission. The guidelines require an experienced, qualified armorer to be put in charge of all handling, use, and safekeeping of firearms on set.”
These duties include “inspecting the firearm and barrel before and after every firing sequence,” and “checking all firearms before each use,” according to SAG-AFTRA.
“The guidelines do not make it the performer’s responsibility to check any firearm. Performers train to perform, and they are not required or expected to be experts on guns or experienced in their use. The industry assigns that responsibility to qualified professionals who oversee their use and handling in every aspect. Anyone issued a firearm on set must be given training and guidance in its safe handling and use, but all activity with firearms on a set must be under the careful supervision and control of the professional armorer and the employer,” the union continued.