SANTA FE, NM – Alec Baldwin recently did a television interview in which he admits to holding the gun that killed one person and injured another, but now claims he never pulled the trigger.
The sheriff whose detectives are working the investigation came out and said what everyone else should already know, guns do not fire on their own.
Alec Baldwin said in an upcoming television interview that he did not pull the trigger of the gun that fired a live round on the set of the film "Rust," killing the film’s cinematographer and wounding its director. https://t.co/tKSzUS9HCA
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 1, 2021
On October 21st, there is no dispute that Baldwin was on the ill-fated movie set for “Rust,” a country western movie with a gun in his hand.
There is also no dispute that the gun that was in Baldwin’s hand fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring film director Joel Souza.
However, now, at least according to Baldwin, there is a dispute as to whether the gun somehow fired itself or he pulled the trigger.
Baldwin, who must have ignored his attorney’s advice, appeared on a televised interview about the incident that day in Santa Fe.
He spoke to ABC host, George Stephanopoulos, who asked him what occurred that morning, and if he pulled the trigger while the gun was pointed in a person’s direction. Baldwin’s response:
“No, no, no, no, I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never.”
While it appears no one believes that Baldwin actually intended to shoot, let alone kill anyone, it is difficult to believe that the gun would just fire on its own while he was holding it. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza expressed his doubts to Fox News Digital.
“Guns don’t just go off. So whatever needs to happen to manipulate the firearm, he did that and it was in his hands.”
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office noted that they are waiting for results from the FBI who is assisting in this case by processing the firearm that was fired.
They are hoping the FBI will be able to advise whether the trigger was pulled or was capable of being manipulated in such a way to cause it to fire.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) December 3, 2021
There may be some argument that the hammer had already been pulled back on the .45 Colt revolver by someone on the set prior to the shooting.
According to the fourth search warrant that was conducted by the Sheriff’s Office, the set armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, noted that this was a possibility. According to the search warrant, Reed said:
“We had the gun the whole time before that and nothing happened, and I wasn’t in there, and they weren’t even supposed to be pulling the hammer back.”
Reed’s description is disputed by Baldwin who described the incident just before the shooting.
In the interview, he said that he and Hutchins were trying to find the best angle with the gun for an upcoming scene in which he never pulls the trigger. However, and most importantly, Baldwin said that he was only supposed to cock the gun which contradicts what Reed’s account.
Fox News spoke to armorer Bryan Carpenter about the possibility of the gun firing without the trigger being pulled. His analysis on the issue was that it would be very rare for something like that to occur. He said:
“In order to make it fire, you have to put your thumb up onto the hammer, cock the hammer all the way back, and then as the hammer is completely cocked back, then you pull the trigger and then the gun fires. So that’s very important because that gun had to have two step process to fire. It had to be cocked and the trigger pulled to fire.”
Carpenter went on to explain that once the hammer is pulled back, the trigger pull is minimal. That means that it would be easy to fire the gun without applying a lot of pressure to the trigger. He said:
“Once you cock the hammer back on one of those old west guns, it doesn’t take a lot to set that trigger off. You know, they’re very light triggers.”
Michael Corrie, a film and prop historian, also spoke to Fox about the possibility of the gun being fired without pulling the trigger. Corrie said the only way something like that could occur is if there had been some type of mechanical failure with the gun. He noted:
“The hammer needs to be fully locked to the rear for the weapon to function. Which necessitates manual operation of the weapon. Barring an as of yet unknown mechanical failure, this weapon did not fire itself…For the hammer to travel forward at all, the trigger has to be depressed…unless some major mechanical failure takes place.”
Gun expert and sheriff cast doubt on Alec Baldwin's claim he did not pull the trigger https://t.co/yQPXlwZ2Jl
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) December 3, 2021
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Carpenter said that guns used in either film or TV productions are not usually pointed at an actor, crew member or equipment, but rather at a dummy point.
“You never let the muzzle of a weapon cover something you don’t intend to destroy. All guns are always [considered] loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.”
A search warrant affidavit indicated Baldwin allegedly didn’t know the prop gun he was handling was loaded with live ammunition, nor did the assistant director who handed it to him.
Prior to the gun being fired by Baldwin, the assistant director shouted “cold gun” before Baldwin pulled the trigger, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, 48, according to KOB-TV.
We have to admit seeing Baldwin in a jackpot, with his constant tweets slamming the NRA and weighing in on police shootings, is wonderful karma, which would be almost funny were it not that his carelessness cost someone their life.
Peter Lake, a former filmmaker and member of the U.S. National Shooting Team lay the blame squarely on Baldwin, the Post said, while other firearms experts said Baldwin could face criminal charges, lawsuits, or both.
“The buck stops with Alec Baldwin on every level,” he told the paper. “It looks very bad for him. At least the captain of the Titanic had the good sense to go down with the ship.”
A Los Angeles-based lawyer, Joseph Costa, told the Post that Baldwin—the movie’s executive producer—could face charges including negligent manslaughter or other charges.
“As an executive producer you are in a position of control and you can get prosecuted criminally,” he said. “It’s the equivalent of drinking and driving, meaning someone may not have intended to cause great harm but they do.”
Under New Mexico law, NM Stat § 30-2-3-B (2018), Involuntary Manslaughter occurs when manslaughter is committed in the “commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.” Involuntary manslaughter is a fourth degree felony.
The Blaze reported that the gun used by Baldwin was also used by the film crew for “off-set fun.”
Multiple sources directly connected to “Rust” [movie being produced] production tell TMZ…the same gun Alec Baldwin accidentally fired—hitting the DP and director—was being used by crews [sp] off set as well, for what we’re told amounted to target practice.
We’re told this off-the-clock shooting—which was allegedly happening away from the movie lot—was being done with real bullets…which is how some who worked on the film believe a live round found its way in one of the chambers that day.
Carpenter told the Post the term “prop gun” is misleading. He noted that many film and TV sets use real firearms during filming, loading them with blank rounds which are identical to standard live bullets with one notable exception—they don’t have a projectile or bullet that is expelled from the gun’s barrel when fired.
It is possible…in fact probable…that the firearm in question, if it were being used off-set for target practice, may have had a live round left in the chamber when it was handed off to Baldwin. The only way to confirm what is in fact inside the chamber of a firearm is to visually inspect it, not simply remove the magazine from the firearm.
There are four rules of firearm safety, all of which were broken by Baldwin. Had he actually taken a firearms safety class offered by the NRA—which he constantly bashes—he would have known not to do exactly what he did. Those four rules are:
- Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle point at anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you have made the decision to shoot.
- Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
All of these rules—every single one of them—must be followed whenever handling a firearm, whether you think it contains blanks or not.
There is another rule—“Clear” a firearm anytime you touch one. The first thing when handling a firearm is to make sure it is empty. The firearm Baldwin had is believed to be a revolver, meaning all six rounds were visible from outside the weapon. In the case of a semi-automatic weapon, the magazine should be released and the slide pulled back and locked to eject any rounds in the chamber.
After the shooting, Baldwin issued a public statement, saying he is fully cooperating with the investigation:
“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,” Baldwin said. “I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred.”
Easy—he negligently mishandled a firearm causing another’s death and should face the consequences of doing so.
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