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How Alec Baldwin's Rust Incident Could Change Gun Usage On Movie Sets

The devastating death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has shaken the entertainment industry to its core. The tragedy occurred late last month, when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun while on the set of his new film "Rust." An apparent live lead round from the prop gun struck both Hutchins and the film's director Joel Souza, and Hutchins sadly died from her injuries shortly after, while Souza is still recovering. The incident has sparked interest across the country, not only due to the prominent media figures involved, but also the danger that firearms can potentially cause on future film sets.

The investigation into Hutchins' death is ongoing, and the question remains how such a tragedy was able to occur. While we wait for more details in regards to the case, a California lawmaker is taking action and plans to introduce legislation to prevent future firearm-related on-set injuries and deaths, such as the recent devastation on the "Rust" set.

New firearm legislation is being introduced

According to Deadline, California senator Dave Cortese is working with the state legislative counsel's office to draft legislation that would "restrict the use of live ammunition on film sets," and also includes restrictions on certain weapons — including who is actually allowed to fire such weapons. As the report reiterates, Hutchins was killed when a live round struck her, and Cortese's legislation would "ban firearms capable of shooting live ammunition of any kind," which would include "any kind of gun capable of setting off gunpowder, which is used for real bullets and blanks."

Currently, live ammunition is not permitted on film sets, but firearms are permitted to shoot blanks as long as strict safety guidelines are followed. As the chair of the Senate Labor Committee, Cortese said he wants the legislation to be fair and clear for everyone to follow, and noted that penalties will include fines rather than felonies.

Cortese also addressed his intent to restrict the use of blanks on set, explaining "to shoot a blank you have to have a firearm capable of shooting a non blank. That is not good from a firearm safety standpoint." He also said he intends to "take the industry's best practices and put them into law."

The legislation that Cortese is working on hasn't been introduced yet because it's still in the works, but Deadline noted that he's also working to incorporate other IATSE safety and workplace concerns into the bill.