A petition calling for a ban on the use of real firearms on film and TV sets has gained more than 25,000 signatures in light of the accidental shooting death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust.”
Hutchins, a cinematographer, was shot and killed and the director of the movie, Joel Souza, was wounded when Alec Baldwin fired a gun on set that he was told was unloaded and safe to handle. The deadly mishap has led to calls for the use of real-life firearms, whether unloaded or loaded with blanks, to be banned.
In a Change.org petition started by filmmaker Bandar Albuliwi, the thousands of people who have signed are calling on Baldwin specifically to use his “power and influence in the Hollywood film industry” to call for a ban on live firearms on sets.
“We need to make sure that this avoidable tragedy never happens again,” the petition reads. “There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century. Real guns are no longer needed on film production sets. This isn’t the early 90’s, when Brandon Lee was killed in the same manner. Change needs to happen before additional talented lives are lost.”
Baldwin seen on the set of the movie ‘Rust’ following the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican)
The reference to Brandon Lee has to do with a similar on-set incident that occurred during the making of the 1994 film “The Crow.” Lee, the son of acclaimed actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, was fatally shot after actor Michael Massee fired a gun at close range that was carrying a blank round. The Daily Mail reports that the weapon was loaded with “improperly crafted dummy rounds.” The crew reportedly failed to remove primer from the cartridges and one of the rounds had been fired.
Lee’s official Twitter account, which is run by his sister Shannon, issued a statement on the matter shortly after news broke regarding the death of Hutchins.
“Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust.’ No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period,” it read.
Shannon Lee further stressed her calls for change in Hollywood regarding on-set firearms in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“I think that in this day and age with all the special effects that are possible and all of the technology, there is no reason to have a prop gun or a gun on a set that can fire a projectile of any sort,” she said. “It is not necessary, and I would love to see some changes made industry-wide. My brother’s fiancee and I have been talking about it. I think we wish we had thought to do more 28 years ago, and we would love to do that now.”
Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of ‘Rust.’ ( Mat Hayward/Getty Images for AMC Networks)
Shannon is not alone in using the tragedy involving Baldwin and Hutchins to call for something to be done about potentially dangerous firearms being used on movie sets. One day after the incident, ABC’s police drama “The Rookie” announced that it was banning the use of real guns on its set.
Erik Kripke, the showrunner for Amazon Prime’s “The Boys,” where “Rust” co-star Jensen Ackles will play a role in Season 3, announced that he will no longer use real guns on set either.
“Someone hurt or killed on my set is my worst nightmare. Sending love to Halyna Hutchins’ family, @JensenAckles, cast & crew of ‘Rust.’ I’m so sorry. In her memory, a simple, easy pledge: no more guns with blanks on any of my sets ever. We’ll use VFX muzzle flashes. Who’s with me?” he wrote.
Brandon Lee (Bruce Lee’s son) died in an on-set accident on the movie ‘The Crow.’ (Barry King/WireImage)
Craig Zobel, the director of “Mare of Easttown” and “The Leftovers” shared similar sentiments writing: “There’s no reason to have guns loaded with blanks or anything on set anymore. Should just be fully outlawed. There’s computers now. The gunshots on Mare of Easttown are all digital. You can probably tell, but who cares? It’s an unnecessary risk.”
Meanwhile, it seems the public outcry is leading to some form of change in California where State Senator Dave Cortese announced he plans to introduce legislation seeking the ban of live ammunition on sets in the state in direct response to the “Rust” incident.