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EXPLAINER: Guns on movie sets: How does that work?

APTOPIX Prop Firearm Movie Set
Posted at 1:46 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 16:12:08-04

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died Thursday after a prop firearm that actor Alec Baldwin was holding discharged on the New Mexico set of "Rust."

Director Joel Souza was also hit and injured but has since been released from the hospital.

The sheriff's department is investigating and many things are still unknown, including whether Hutchins was killed by a real bullet or a blank.

On movie sets, weapons masters are in charge of the weapons and must be present when a weapon is being used.

And according to the guidelines of the Actors' Equity Association, firearms must be loaded by the prop master, armorer, or experienced persons working under their direct supervision.

WHAT IS A “PROP FIREARM”?

According to the Associated Press, it can range from a rubber toy to a real firearm that can fire a projectile and it's considered a real gun even when shooting blanks.

WHAT ARE BLANKS AND CAN THEY KILL?

Yes, they can hurt and even kill someone who is close by. They are a type of gun cartridge that contains gunpowder but no bullet.

IN THIS INSTANCE, WERE BLANKS FIRED?

That question cannot be answered yet until the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office investigates what “type of projectile was discharged.”