LIVE: 'Rust' trial continues over death of cinematographer

LIVE: 'Rust' trial continues over death of cinematographer

Responsibilities of an Armorer on a Movie Set

  • The primary responsibility of an armorer on a movie set is to ensure the safety of the cast and crew, prioritizing safety above all else.
  • Armorers handle weapons, check and secure them, maintain a chain of custody, and ensure the quality control of ammunition.
  • They have the authority to stop filming if safety issues arise and can provide instructions to actors regarding firearms and safety procedures.

Safety Protocols for Handling Firearms on Set

  • Before a scene involving a weapon, the armorer will clear the weapon and show it to at least two representatives on set, including the first assistant director and director of photography.
  • Dummy rounds are used for safety and are shown to the actor and anyone else who wants to see them.
  • The armorer waits until the scene is about to start shooting before handing off the weapon to the actor.
  • The armorer stays on set and collects the weapon back up as soon as the actor is finished with the scene.
  • The armorer never leaves a live weapon with anyone else and walks away.
  • Armorers should not leave guns unattended with assistant directors or anyone else.

Importance of Proper Training and Experience

  • There is no national certification for armorers, and the amount of training and experience required varies.
  • A minimum of 40 hours of safety handling training is necessary, with additional on-the-job training for professional armorers.
  • Armorers should have extensive experience with firearms, including law enforcement, security contracting, and specialized training.

Safety Concerns on the Set of "Rust"

  • The armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was inexperienced and sometimes pulled away from her armor duties to do props work.
  • There was a lack of muzzle discipline in several scenes, and it's unclear if the armorer addressed this with the actors.
  • The production company only had Ms. Reed working as a part-time armorer, which is not ideal for a gun-heavy set.
  • Cooper's four rules for firearm safety were violated by Alec Baldwin in several scenes.
  • Production was running behind schedule on the day of the incident, which may have contributed to the rush.

Recommendations for Improving Safety on Movie Sets

  • Establish clear directions for firing and ensure that the crew is in a safe position before a scene is shot.
  • Have a chain of custody and reporting format for negligent discharges, and take steps to address safety issues.
  • If the armorer is not present, the first assistant director is responsible for safety but not gun handling.
  • Conduct a safety briefing every day before scenes involving firearms, regardless of time constraints.
  • If an actor goes off-script and uses a weapon unexpectedly, someone should call the armorer to the scene for a safety briefing and weapon check.

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