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(Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Film

Petition launched to ban real firearms on film sets after 'Rust' incident

The internet was taken by storm recently when reports surfaced on social media platforms that a person had actually died on a film set. In a tragic turn of events, it was revealed that Alec Baldwin had misfired a prop gun which resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured the director of the upcoming western called Rust – Joel Souza.

“The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography, and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor,” the official statement said.

Adding, “Ms Hutchins was transported, via helicopter, to University of New Mexico hospital where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel. Mr Souza was transported by ambulance to Christus St Vincent regional medical center where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries.”

Due to the incredibly pernicious machinations of social media, many people held Baldwin responsible for the death of Hutchins even though the responsibility for the maintenance of props belongs to the production team who failed in this case. According to multiple reports, the prop gun was loaded with a live round which led to the fatal shooting of Hutchins.

However, if there is one person who does not blame Baldwin for the tragedy, it is Hutchins’ father Anatoly Androsovych who said: “We still can’t believe Halyna is dead and her mother is going out of her mind with grief. But I don’t hold Alec Baldwin responsible — it is the responsibility of the props people who handle the guns. [Halyna’s son] has been very badly affected — he is lost without his mother.”

The response to this incident has been divisive, with many blaming the celebrity while others criticising the production company for not following union rules and engaging in dubious labour practices. Actor Xander Berkeley was so affected by the situation that he started a petition which calls for the ban of real firearms on any film set.

“We need to make sure that this avoidable tragedy never happens again. There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century,” Berkeley said. “Real guns are no longer needed on film production sets. This isn’t the early ’90s, when Brandon Lee was killed in the same manner. Change needs to happen before additional talented lives are lost.”

This series of events has reportedly left Baldwin in an inconsolable condition and he is pulling out of most projects for the foreseeable future in order to process what happened. The production of Rust has naturally come to a standstill, with police forces leading an investigation revolving around the film’s weapons specialist and the assistant director who gave the gun to Baldwin.