L.A. City Councilman Calls For Ban On Live Guns, Ammunition On Film & TV Sets

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a resolution today to support legislation that would eliminate live guns and ammunition from television and movie productions following the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after a weapon discharged as star Alec Baldwin handled it on set.

“While movies can be convincing and very realistic — they are supposed to be make-believe,” said Koretz, who introduced the resolution. “A single gun accident, let alone a fatality, like the one that occurred on the Rust set and the ones that killed Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum destroy the lives of not only the victims and their families, but the lives of the other actors and crew who forever after are burdened with the emotional trauma of avoidable accidents.

“The idea that even one misfire has caused danger is outrageous,” he continued. “The clear solution is banishing live guns and ammunition from the sets of television and motion picture productions to eliminate all possibility of human error in the handling of weapons so that flawless oversight and restrictions guarantee that these kinds of accidents never happen again.”

Koretz is not the only politician who is considering official action. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Tuesday that the state is prepared to take action to improve safety on film sets if the industry doesn’t.

IATSE Local 480, meanwhile, wrote in a letter to its members today that it was “inexcusable” for the film’s producers to hire non-union workers to replace seven union members of the camera crew who had walked off the job in protest just hours before the fatal shooting. The local represents film and TV workers in the state.

On Oct. 21, Baldwin was rehearsing a scene on the set of the western Rust at a ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, when he discharged a weapon, killing the 42-year-old Hutchins and injuring the film’s director, Joel Souza, 48.

According to an October 22 affidavit submitted to a state judge for search warrants, Baldwin was told by Rust Assistant Director Halls that the gun he was pointing toward the camera for a rehearsal scene was a “cold gun.” At that time, the police investigation also determined that all three “prop guns” were prepped by the on-set armorer Gutierrez and the First AD “did not know live rounds were in the prop gun.”

The death of Hutchins has renewed concerns about on-set safety.

New Mexico authorities said at a press conference today that it is still too early in their investigation to comment on whether criminal charges will be filed in the death, but Santa Fe County Sheriff said three guns were recovered from the scene and identified the one fired by Baldwin as a “long Colt .45 revolver.”

He reported the department has recovered “500 rounds of ammunition…a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting are live rounds,” said Mendoza. He said that a “lead projectile…has been recovered from the shoulder of Mr. Souza” and indicated that he considered the “bullet live because obviously it did fire from the gun.” You can watch today’s press conference below.

An affidavit for a new search warrant filed today indicated that the crew member responsible for overall safety on the set — first assistant director David Halls — admitted he didn’t properly check the gun that Alec Baldwin discharged on October 21, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

“David advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds,” the filing adds about interaction that afternoon last week between the First AD and armorer Hannah Gutierrez.

“He advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum,” the affidavit bluntly states

Koretz’ Council District 5 includes many of the city’s most affluent communities where many in the industry live. It runs along the city’s spine in the Santa Monica Mountains and includes communities on the west side of Los Angeles from Hollywood to Bel Air, as well as communities in the San Fernando Valley. Council District 5 encompasses the communities of Bel Air, Beverly Crest, Beverlywood, California Country Club, Carthay Circle, Century City, Cheviot Hills, Comstock Hills, Encino, Fairfax, Hollywood, Melrose, Oak Forest Canyon, Palms, Pico-Robertson, Roscomare, Westside Village, Westwood, Westwood Gardens and Westwood South of Santa Monica.

Dominic Patten, Ted Johnson and City News Service contributed to this report.

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