Petition to ban live weapons on film sets following Halyna Hutchins' death gathers support

The cinematographer was fatally shot on the set of 'Rust' when actor Alec Baldwin accidentally fired a loaded gun

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A petition to ban the use of real firearms on Hollywood film sets has received more than 13,000 signatures. The movement has gained momentum in the wake of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins's death on October 21 on the set of Joel Souza's Rust. Souza was also hospitalised following the incident.

Hutchins, 42, died in hospital after she was shot by actor Alec Baldwin, 63, who fired a loaded prop gun. Baldwin was handed the firearm by an assistant director, who told him it was a "cold gun", meaning it contained no live ammunition.

A woman displays a sign calling for workplace safety at a vigil for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died after being accidentally shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of his movie 'Rust'. Reuters

"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," the petition, which had received 13,818 signatures at the time of writing, reads.

"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."

Lee, son of actor Bruce Lee, died on the set of The Crow on March 31, 1993. He was fatally shot by actor Michael Massee, whose gun was loaded with improperly made dummy rounds.

Following Lee's death, Massee took a year off from acting and says he never watched The Crow, which was released in 1994. In 2005, he told Extra that he was still traumatised by the incident, saying, "I don't think you ever get over something like that."

The petition also pleads for "Baldwin to use his power and influence in the Hollywood film industry to make change and ban real guns on film sets".

The petition aims to receive 15,000 signatures.

What happened on the set of 'Rust'?

Alec Baldwin outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in New Mexico, after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film 'Rust', which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. AP

Performing a rehearsal scene, Baldwin fired the gun, striking Hutchins in the chest and Souza in the shoulder.

"My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna," wrote Baldwin on Twitter on Friday. "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours."

The actor and producer said he was "fully co-operating" with the police investigation, as law enforcement officials carried out a search of the set, about which reports emerged of allegedly dangerous working conditions.

Production of Rust – a 19th-century Western in which Baldwin is playing the lead – has been suspended. Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to hospital and later discharged.

The film is about a boy, 13, who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to IMDb. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather, played by Baldwin, after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

Updated: October 24, 2021, 11:05 AM
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