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October 25, 2021

Baldwin: ‘Prop Gun’ Blame-Shifting

“I wonder how it must feel to wrongfully kill someone.”

A negligent discharge of a handgun by celebrity actor/director Alec Baldwin resulted in the unintentional death of his cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the injury of director Joel Souza. The incident occurred while filming Baldwin’s violent film, “Rust,” his first Western, at Bonanza Creek Ranch, where more than 130 Westerns have been produce. Hutchins was dead on arrival at a New Mexico hospital where Souza was treated and released.

According to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, the weapon was an Italian-made reproduction Colt .45 Peacemaker, a single-action revolver. It is unclear why a live round was in the weapon but suffice it to say that the film’s prop master, Sarah Zachry, its armorer, Gutierrez Reed and assistant director Dave Halls, did not check the weapon to ensure it was safe to use, despite the fact Halls declared it “cold,” as in safe, before handing it to Baldwin. However, the final and most critical precaution to ensure the weapons was safe to use, was the responsibility of there person who pulled the trigger…

Baldwin cross-drew the revolver before he cocked it, aimed it at the camera crew and pulled the trigger. The gun had been used earlier in the day by crew members for target shooting, and that is most likely why one live round was in the weapon along with four dummy rounds.

Baldwin released the following statement: “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

I believe every word of that statement and have no doubt Baldwin is deeply grieving the death of one of his set crew, a death due to his negligence. The responsibility for using a firearm safely rests with the individual in possession of that weapon.

To that point, any responsible firearms user clears (renders safe) any weapon handed to them, and then exercises proper muzzle control so that even in the event of a negligent discharge, if the weapon muzzle is in a safe direction, it is unlikely to cause injury. Those of us who have carried firearms in our military or law enforcement capacity, are well aware of the horrible prospect of fratricidal homicide, death by “friendly fire.” That is a burden none of us want to bear, so exercising safety when carrying and using loaded weapons is our first and foremost priority.

Ensuring a weapon is safe also applies to “prop guns.”

A few years ago a friend handed me a prop gun, an M16A1 with an M203 40mm thumper attached. It was the gun made famous by Tony Montana (Al Pacino) as “my little friend” in his well-known movie, “Scarface.” The first thing I did was clear that M16 because the bolt was closed, despite its “prop” status and the fact that the person who handed it to me was a highly experienced firearms safety and training expert. Unknown to most people, many firearms used in movies are actually fully-functional weapons, as was the case with Pacino’s M16 – he insisted on using real firearms in his films.

However, in the Baldwin case, for cinema-graphic effect, he did what no responsible firearms user would otherwise do — pointed a fully functional handgun in the direction of his crew and pulled the trigger. Tragically, there was a live round in that prop gun – Baldwin had not taken the time to ensure the round was a blank, or that the gun was safe. I am sure the individual who declared the gun was “cold” will bear the largest amount of blame for this incident, but Baldwin is responsible.

In fact, two weeks before this incident, there were twonegligent discharges of prop firearms on the set. Further, the assistant director who reportedly handed Baldwin the revolver, had previously been fired from the 2019 production of another film due to a negligent firearm discharge.

This should have been a clue that something was tragically amiss with Baldwin’s gun safety protocols on the set.

As with all mass media reports about firearms, there has been mass confusion about this incident, most notably, the MSM’s contortionist efforts to explain how dangerous a gun firing blanks can be, and betraying how little any of these talkingheads and scribes know about an actual firearm.

But the fact is, there is no excuse for the use of functional firearms on movie sets when blank-firing replicas are virtually indistinguishable from the real deal.

Having trained both young people on the fundamentals of firearms safety, and adults completing concealed-carry permit courses on safe handling of firearms, I start that training with replica “prop guns.” That includes two semi-auto pistols that look identical to a 9mm Beretta M92 and Sig 226, but in fact will only chamber 8mm blank rounds — and the barrels are obstructed. These replicas are ideal for the initial training of those who have not fired a weapon previously, because they look, feel, operate, and sound like a 9mm, but they will not chamber a live 9mm round.

While movie set accidents using firearms are rare, the Baldwin case is also noteworthy because he is among the hordes of fashionable celebrity “gun control” activist. Such activists distract from the fact that real world violence is a culture problem. And despite Joe Biden’s assertions to the contrary, crime is a criminal problem, not a “gun problem.”

But at the same time they are promoting gun confiscation from law-abiding citizens, celebrities like Baldwin hypocritically promote and grossly profit from violent movie productions featuring all manner of firearms. Ironically, Baldwin’s movie “Rust” is loosely based on a true story about an outlaw (played by Baldwin) who attempts to save his grandson, who had been convicted of murder for an accidental death — ironic also because Baldwin plays a good guy trying to defend his grandson with a gun.

As you may recall, in 2018, Baldwin was a sponsor of the “No Rifle Association” anti-NRA initiative with the ultimate objective of repealing the Second Amendment. The irony for Baldwin is that one of the primary purposes of the NRA is to provide firearm instruction and safety training. Baldwin broke the most fundamental rules of gun safety promoted by the NRA.

But it is Baldwin’s hypocritical abuse of his celebrity status a year earlier, piling on with the leftist condemnation of cops, that should give him pause for reflection in this moment, about his own words. At that time, condemning a Huntington Beach, California cop in an officer-involved shooting, Baldwin posted a video of that incident to tens of millions of social media followers with his condescending conviction of the officer: “I wonder how it must feel to wrongfully kill someone.”

Notably, the officer involved in that shooting was exonerated by the Orange County District Attorney’s office and later by a federal judge, though the case is still being litigated. It was also determined that the “victim” shot by the officer had murdered another individual.

The ongoing civil litigation does not diminish Baldwin’s inexcusable bold-faced condemnation of that officer before the facts were known, nor the tragic irony of that condemnation now that Baldwin is himself experiencing “how it must feel to wrongfully kill someone.”

As for charges in the Baldwin case, the New Mexico DA says her office has not determined what charges will be filed. It will be difficult for a gun control advocate who negligently kills someone with a gun, to then argue they bear no responsibility. This case falls squarely into to the negligent homicide category, it will be interesting to see if Baldwin can shift the blame to the set armorer.

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