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Legal Analysis: Does Alec Baldwin Have Criminal Exposure After Shooting Woman Dead In Apparent Mistake?

Legal Analysis: Does Alec Baldwin Have Criminal Exposure After Shooting Woman Dead In Apparent Mistake?

Innocent Accident, or Involuntary Manslaughter?

Hey folks, I’m Attorney Andrew Branca, for Law of Self Defense.

Today I’d like to share with you a tragic story out of New Mexico involving the actor Alec Baldwin (perhaps best known for his small but powerful role in the 1992 movie “Glengarry  Glenn Ross”—“coffee is for closers!”—and his long-standing role as boss Jack Donaghy on the television program “30 Rock.”)

The Tragic Event

I’ll briefly quote from a New York Times story on the event:

Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of a Western he was making in New Mexico on Thursday, killing the film’s director of photography and wounding the movie’s director, the authorities said.

The cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed, and the director, Joel Souza, 48, was injured … . The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation.

It’s separately reported that Alec Baldwin was also a co-producer of the movie.

Was This An Accident? Negligence? Recklessness/Involuntary Manslaughter?

I’ve received a veritable tsunami of inquiries as to my take on this tragedy, in the context of the fatal force involved—Alec Baldwin’s firing of the gun in his hand, with fatal results—presumably without any actual intent to kill the victim, Ms. Hutchins.

Could this shooting death be characterized as an accident?  In fact, there is a legal defense of accident, much like there is a legal defense of self-defense for cases of intentional shootings, and both are “perfect” defenses—meaning, if accepted by legal process, the legal defense of accident frees the person of all legal liability (both criminal and civil).

So, perhaps this was an innocent accident, in the legal sense, and Alec Baldwin ought to bear no legal responsibility, either criminally or civilly, for the death of Ms. Hutchins.

On the other hand, perhaps this shooting death is more accurately characterized as negligent, or perhaps even reckless—and if reckless, then certainly as involuntary manslaughter, which New Mexico law defines (in the context of this case) as an unlawful killing committed “in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death … without due caution and circumspection.”

Under New Mexico law involuntary manslaughter is a fourth-degree felony normally punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The most common form of involuntary manslaughter committed generally is drunk driving resulting in a fatality, but of course a firearm being handled lawfully but “without due caution and circumspection” that results in a death fits the statutory definition equally well.

So, in the shooting death of Ms. Hutchins by Alec Baldwin, are we looking at an accident, free of legal liability, or an act of negligence carrying civil liability, or a criminally reckless killing (an involuntary manslaughter) good for a felony prison sentence?  What factors do we consider in distinguishing between accident and negligence and reckless killing?

To be clear, our goal here is not necessarily to arrive at a definitive legal answer—I’m not sure we really know enough facts with enough certainty to do that.

But if we can’t immediately arrive at the right legal answer, at the very least we can understand how to ask the right legal question—and that’s what we’ll do right here, right now.

The Legal Defense of Accident

Legally speaking the defense of accident applies when the harm caused could not have been foreseen by the person who caused the harm, and who was otherwise acting in a normal and non-negligent manner.

For example, imagine that your elderly aunt asked you to move a heavy plant from one side of her apartment to the other.  You carry the plant to the new spot, place it on the floor—but unknown, and unknowable, to you, the floor joists in that spot are rotten. The plant falls through the floor, lands on the head of your aunt’s neighbor downstairs, and kills the neighbor.

Because you were acting in a normal and non-negligent manner, and could not have foreseen that the floor joists were rotten, the death that results from your admitted conduct was a genuine accident in the legal sense, and as a result you have no legal liability for the death that resulted.  As the saying goes, poop happens.

Negligence Creates Civil Liability

Liability is acquired, however, if you were acting negligently when you caused the harm.

For example, imagine that you were driving down a neighborhood road with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour.  You’re in a bit of a hurry, however, so you’re driving at a solid 35 miles per hour.  There’s no reason for you to think, and you don’t think that you’re creating any exceptional risk by driving a bit over the speed limit—heck, plenty of the people in the neighborhood do so all the time.  Suddenly, however, a child dashes out into the street, and that 10 miles per hour over the limit is what prevents you from stopping before your vehicle hits and kills the child.

Here you were not acting in a normal and non-negligent manner.  We all have a generalized legal duty to not cause unjustified harm to others. Your intentional disregard of the stated speed limit violated that legal duty, even though you did not know you were creating an exceptional risk of death.

By violating that generalized legal duty to not cause harm to others you were acting negligently, and your negligence means that you’ve acquired at least civil liability for the death you caused by your negligent conduct.

The parents would presumably sue you for wrongful death in civil court, and win a judgment as the result of your negligent conduct.

Recklessness Creates Criminal Liability

Even then, however, you don’t necessarily have criminal liability for the child’s death.  Criminal liability requires more than mere negligence—the failure to meet a duty to not cause harm.

Criminal liability requires recklessness.

Recklessness occurs when you not only violate a legal duty to not cause harm, but you explicitly know you are doing so, and you intentionally disregard that risk.

To put it another way, you are creating a risk of death or serious bodily injury, are aware that you are doing so, but choose to disregard the risk and continue with your conduct regardless. And the bad outcome occurs.

The classic illustration for criminal recklessness causing death (often labeled involuntary manslaughter) is the drunk driving fatality mentioned above.

You know (as we all know, so it is “common knowledge” in legal terms) that driving while intoxicated creates a risk to others of death or serious bodily injury.  When you become voluntarily intoxicated and operate a motor vehicle you are aware of the risk you are creating, and you are choosing to disregard that risk.

Should a death result, your recklessness makes that not an accident or even mere negligence, but a crime—involuntary manslaughter.

Note there is no requirement that the death be intentional.  The person driving home drunk isn’t intending to kill anyone—they just want to get home.  Indeed, were the death intentional we’d be talking about murder or voluntary manslaughter, and not involuntary manslaughter based on recklessness rather than intent.

I am, of course, as presumably we all are, working under the assumption that Alec Baldwin did not intend the death of Ms. Hutchins.  That lack of intent, however, does nothing to diminish potential liability for the crime of involuntary manslaughter.

So What Was It? Accident, Negligence, or Recklessness?

So, with that legal foundation in mind, what can we make of Alec Baldwin’s shooting death of Ms. Hutchins? Could it have been an innocent accident? Or is it merely civil negligence?  Or is it criminal recklessness, and involuntary manslaughter?  The answer will, of course, depend on what the facts are ultimately turnout to be, but we can certainly explore the range of outcomes that would be on the table.

Innocent accidents can happen with firearms, but they are rare—and the reason they are rare is that firearms are recognized legally as inherently dangerous instruments, and therefore the standard of care for handling them is very high.

Accident: What That Would Look Like In This Case

What might an genuine accident with a handgun look like? Well, imagine a gun that has an unseen defect, such that when the barrel is brought up to the horizontal position the gun discharges without any press of the trigger.

This is clearly not how a gun is supposed to fire, nor would any reasonable person expect a gun to fire under such circumstances.

If the gun being handled by Alec Baldwin is found to have such a defect, and his handling of the gun was otherwise non-negligent, he would have a good argument that the gun discharging and killing Ms. Hutchins was a genuine accident for which he should bear no civil or criminal liability.

Negligence: What That Would Look Like In This Case

On the other hand, a defective gun doesn’t necessarily mean there was no negligence involved, and if there is negligence there cannot be an innocent accident and zero legal liability—there must, at least, be civil liability.

In our hypothetical with the defective gun, for example, it may be true that the discharge of the gun was not foreseeable by Alec Baldwin, and therefore not really in his control—but the direction in which the gun was pointed certainly was in his control.

The death of Ms. Hutchins by the discharge of the gun could not have occurred had the gun not been pointed at her—and that pointing of the gun at her would certainly seem to constitute negligence.

Anyone trained in firearms safety—and anyone handling an inherently dangerous instrument like a firearm can be reasonably expected to have a duty to be trained on its safe operation around others—would know that one of the four primary safety rules of handling firearms is that you do not point the muzzle of the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.

Pointing the gun at Ms. Hutchins then, at least under circumstances in which the gun discharges and kills her, would certainly qualify as negligence at a minimum, and thus create civil liability for her death.

Recklessness: What That Would Look Like In This Case

But the potential liability doesn’t end there, because we must also consider the possibility that the killing was the result not of innocent accident, and not merely of civil negligence, but rather the result of criminal recklessness.

Let’s change our hypothetical to remove the defect from the gun.  Now the gun operates normally, and will not discharge unless the trigger is depressed.  Imagine also that some of the news reporting of this event accurately describes the discharge of the weapon as follows.

Let me be clear—I have no idea if what I’m about to describe will turn out to accurately describe the events in this case.  I read such a description of the events online, but have no idea if the person providing that description has any idea what they are talking about.  Here we’re using that description of events not as a claim that they represent what actually happened, but merely as a hypothetical to explore the legal issues that could arise in this case.

The day was running long, the actors and crew were getting tired, another scene had to be shot yet again, and in an effort to add some levity to the circumstances Alec Baldwin, holding a firearm in his hands that he believed to be unloaded, jokingly told the director of photography Ms. Hutchins and director Joel Souza, “We have to shoot that scene again? How about if I just shoot you both, instead.”  He then points the firearm at them and depresses the trigger, resulting in the gun discharging, killing Ms. Hutchins, and wounding Mr. Souza.

In that last hypothetical we have no innocent accident, and we have no mere civil negligence—instead, we have, with the pointing of the weapon at the victims and the deliberate press of the trigger, criminal recklessness.

The gun did not go off for unforeseeable reasons, such as a hidden defect.  The gun discharged because it operated as designed—to fire when the trigger is depressed.  Of course, the gun must be loaded when the trigger is depressed in order to cause harm—but as the tragic consequences here amply demonstrate, the gun was loaded.  It would be the duty of the person wielding the gun to ensure it was unloaded if they wished to cause no harm when they depressed the trigger—and clearly that duty was not met.

Second, anyone handling an inherently dangerous object such as a firearm would be presumed to possess the safety knowledge needed to handle that firearm safely around others—a claim of ignorance is no defense when one is handling inherently dangerous objects.

That guns are inherently dangerous is common knowledge presumed to be known to everyone. That the rounds fired come out of the muzzle and travel with lethal force and distance is also common knowledge presumed to be known to everyone. That guns discharge when their triggers are depressed is also common knowledge presumed to be known to everyone.

Because the various common knowledge just described would be presumed to be known to everyone, including Alec Baldwin handling the firearm, when he pointed the weapon at Ms. Hutchins and pressed the trigger (again, speaking solely within the context of our hypothetical, not as a claim of what actually happened), then he was necessarily aware of the risk of death he was creating, and deliberately disregarding that risk, with the result being the death of Ms. Hutchins. (The same would apply, of course, to Alec Baldwin’s violation of the gun handling safety rule of presuming at all times that a gun is loaded.)

When you are aware you are creating a risk of death, deliberate disregard that risk, and death results—that’s the very definition of criminal recklessness—commonly referred to as involuntary manslaughter.

Implications of Baldwin as Both Shooter and Producer

By the way, before I move on to discussing criminal recklessness, there’s another factor in this tragic event that will likely play a role in civil liability, and perhaps criminal liability, if any, for Alec Baldwin.

so, Alec Baldwin was both the actor handling the firearm when it discharged—and an actor might argue that he is at the “bottom” of the safety responsibility ladder for something like a movie set—but he was also a co-producer for the film—which would place him at the “top” of the safety responsibility ladder.

In theory, an actor at the “bottom” and the producer at the “top” might each point their finger at each other in the case of a tragic event like this.  That is, the actor might argue that the producer ought to have had better safety protocols in place, and the producer might argue that the actor had the ultimately responsibility for safe handling of the firearm.

In this case, however, Alec Baldwin occupies both seats.  So he can point his finger in this manner if he wishes, but ultimately he’ll be pointing it at himself.

And this implication could well apply not merely in the civil law context, within the scope of negligence, but also within the criminal law context, within the scope of recklessness and involuntary manslaughter.

And Now You Know the Right Question

So, whether this tragic event should qualify as a genuine innocent accident, or merely civil negligence, or perhaps criminal recklessness and involuntary manslaughter, will depend on how the facts fit into the legal framework I’ve just described.

I certainly don’t yet know the actual facts in any concrete detail, and I expect few of us do.

But if we can’t yet arrive at the right answer, because we lack the necessary facts, at least we now know how to ask the right questions—because we know the correct legal framework in which to place those facts once they are revealed to us, and arrive at a correct legal conclusion.

OK, folks, that’s all I have for you on this topic.

Until next time:


You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.

Know the law so you’re hard to convict.

Stay safe!


Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

Nothing in this content constitutes legal advice. Nothing in this content establishes an attorney-client relationship, nor confidentiality. If you are in immediate need of legal advice, retain a licensed, competent attorney in the relevant jurisdiction.


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2smartforlibs | October 22, 2021 at 4:37 pm

There is no doubt he is exposed. it might only be wrongful death but he’s going to have to settle this.

    George Floyd’s family got a 27 Million payoff. I wonder what the life of that woman is worth?
    How can anyone figure out something that terrible?

    TY Mr. Branca, always a great write up.

      Ironclaw in reply to amwick. | October 23, 2021 at 12:03 am

      Yeah, but Floyd was a junkie, the person who died here is a productive member of society. They only pay out for junkies and criminals.

        UserP in reply to Ironclaw. | October 23, 2021 at 12:14 am

        You got a good point there.

          SteChatte in reply to UserP. | October 25, 2021 at 7:36 pm

          Not a fan of Baldwin, but it is possible he thought that the gun was fake (inoperable) or that it was loaded with blanks. An actor does indeed aim such guns at people, and therefore an actor has a reasonable expectation of safety from whomever hands him the gun. So maybe the person who handed Baldwin the gun bears the criminal liability.

        The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Ironclaw. | October 23, 2021 at 5:20 am

        Don’t leave out the elephant in the room: she wasn’t black.

        VetHusbandFather in reply to Ironclaw. | October 23, 2021 at 6:52 am

        Honestly the biggest factor is that George Floyd was paid out by the city. City leaders have no concerns about a big payoff because they are just spending taxpayer money. Whether it’s Baldwin or the production company that pays off here, they are going to offer a whole lot less because they actually care about spending their own money.

      ANevskyUSA in reply to amwick. | October 23, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      The way I would describe it is that liability, criminal or civil, requires both an act that causes the harm, and a capable mental state behind the act. An “accident” occurs when there is no culpable mental state. This is why the police are trying to use the term “crash” rather than “accident” when discussing bad things that happen on the road involving vehicles. This means that accident isn’t really a defense, but rather simply a condition that will not exist if the prosecutor can prove the existence of the mens rea in the defendant.

      “Negligently,” “recklessly,” “knowingly” and “intentionally” are the different levels of mental states, and which level is required to be proven is based upon the particular crime. Self defense is an affirmative defense because the defendant concedes the existence of the elements, but provides a scintillating of evidence that the liabilty-avoiding condition existed, and it is the prosecutor’s burden to disprove said condition.

      In Baldwin’s case, it seems to me that, assuming he wasn’t screwing around with the firearm, the mental state question (negligence) will be determined, at least in part, by the question of to what extent an actor is allowed to rely upon the expertise of the on-set armorers. I don’t know the answer to this, but it seems reasonable that the actors should be. After all, we trust the mechanics to fix the brakes in our cars properly; we don’t require a driver to check the work himself. Sure, the brake system in a car is a bit more complex than the condition of a cartridge, but I’m not sure that cartridge inspection is common knowledge nowadays. Ironically, it might have been back in the time of the movie’s setting, but today? When people know so little about guns that the AR-15 is the scariest weapon ever?

      Of course, Baldwin was also the producer, and if what many of us have heard about the on-set conditions were like is true, then Baldwin (or at least his production company) may be in trouble.

      chrisboltssr in reply to amwick. | October 23, 2021 at 9:11 pm

      And I’m willing to bet they blew through most of it.

    Idonttweet in reply to 2smartforlibs. | October 22, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    Are we talking criminal exposure or civil liability?

Accident is a perfect defense? Civil law says otherwise.

    I wouldn’t characterize accident as a “defense.” Typically, a “defense” is a set of facts the defendant has the burden of proving.

    In order to hold someone civilly liable, you have to prove that they acted “negligently,” that is, they departed from the standard of care that a reasonable person in their position would observe. The plaintiff in a civil case has the burden of proving both the “duty” and the departure from it by a preponderance of the evidence.

    To describe something as an accident is just a way of saying that on a particular set of facts, the plaintiff cannot meet its burden of proof. It does not implicate any kind of burden of proof on the part of the defendant,

      The article said:

      “In fact, there is a legal defense of accident, much like there is a legal defense of self-defense for cases of intentional shootings, and both are “perfect” defenses—meaning, if accepted by legal process, the legal defense of accident frees the person of all legal liability (both criminal and civil).

      So, perhaps this was an innocent accident, in the legal sense, and Alec Baldwin ought to bear no legal responsibility, either criminally or civilly”

      That was what the comment refuted. Isn’t negligent homicide usually the result of “accident?”

      Ironclaw in reply to Wisewerds. | October 22, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      It’s not an accident when you point a gun at someone and pull the trigger, even if you think that gun is unloaded. It violates even the most basic gun safety practices.

        randian in reply to Ironclaw. | October 22, 2021 at 10:57 pm

        “It violates even the most basic gun safety practices”

        You may have noticed that guns are fired all the time in movies. We still don’t know the circumstances of the shooting. Did Baldwin shoot the gun in the context of a scene?

          Guns are indeed fired all the time in movies. At actors. In scenes. When are guns fired at cinematographers? Oh, right, never.

          Olinser in reply to randian. | October 22, 2021 at 11:31 pm

          Well.. yes and no Fuzzy. Obviously you aren’t AIMING at cinematographers, but there are innumerable shots where actors point guns directly at the cameras (and the people behind the cameras operating them), and fire off shots.

          Joe Pesci, Clint Eastwood, the James Bond openings, etc, many many famous shots have actors point guns DIRECTLY at the camera and pull the trigger.

          In fact it’s an actual trope known as ‘Sean Connery Is About To Shoot You’, in reference to the fact that a huge number of the 007 posters (and the opening), featured the actor pointing the gun directly out at the camera.

          Ironclaw in reply to randian. | October 23, 2021 at 12:06 am

          It surely didn’t sound like it from what I’ve been able to figure out. However, both of these people would never appear on camera, and they don’t work cameras. They should have never been near where that gun was pointed. From what I hear, he was messing around and like a moron had his finger on the trigger.

          It should be pointed out that aiming at the camera is not the same as aiming at the cameraman. There are ways to set shots up where the person operating the camera is never in the line of fire, or is shielded etc…

          It is a bit more unwieldy, and might take some choreography or additional materials, but these are not monumentally difficult or expensive things in the context of a movie production.

          henrybowman in reply to randian. | October 23, 2021 at 3:16 pm

          And the actual shot would have occurred with those protections in place. However, it appears that Baldwin was “personally rehearsing” a scene that would have required this, at a time when the staff was in the area they never would have been while actually filming the gunfight.

        The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Ironclaw. | October 23, 2021 at 5:22 am

        Members of my family were involved in productions in Hollywood. And proper set safety standards been used, this would never have happened. Gun safety on the set is paramount. I know that was not one of my famous poems. What went on and on Alex Baldwin’s set is inexcusable. I doubt very much that they had any kind of a safety officer on site. Or whatever it is the studios call Savard responsible for such things.

          This is perfect I saw this elsewhere

          In my industry, every project is reviewed at least twice before being issued to the client. I, as the owner of the company reviews every project before I sign off, even when its been reviewed several times by competent staff. I have absolute and ultimate responsibility to the correctness of the project.

          In this case, the holder of the firearm has absolute responsibility to check to ensure that the weapon is not loaded with live ammo, no matter how many times it has been checked by a lower level assistant.

          Definite manslaughter – I might upgrade to first degree murder.

        Peter Bee in reply to Ironclaw. | October 24, 2021 at 7:35 pm

        Yes sir!!!

        DaveGinOly in reply to Ironclaw. | October 25, 2021 at 12:43 am

        Although what you say is true, this incident did not take place at a shooting range or in someone’s home. It took place on a movie set with an armorer present. Everyone on the set relies upon the armorer to make sure the weapons on the set are either made safe, or are handled properly when not safe. The armorer put three guns on a cart (or allowed someone else to do so, with or without direction/supervision), and Baldwin was handed one by the assistant director (AD), likely with an understanding (or, at lease, a belief) that the armorer can be relied upon to make the weapons safe. That is the purpose of an armorer (and other safety personnel) on the set. Everyone on the set expects to be able to rely upon the professionals to do their jobs. This is a unique circumstance, unlike most common circumstances in which the person handling the firearm is normally personally responsible for its safe handling.
        I think the difference here concerning liability will be determined by answering the question, “Was Baldwin instructed to aim the weapon at a camera and pull the trigger, or was he horsing around with a firearm?” If the former, I think a good argument could be made, that in the usual course of his work, he relies upon the armorer to make weapons safe. (If the AD told Baldwin it was a “cold gun” without hearing that from the armorer or without checking the gun himself, I think the AD would bear far more responsibility than Baldwin. Should Baldwin have relied upon the pronouncement of the AD? Did he believe the AD “knew” the gun was “cold”, possibly because of the general knowledge that one of the armorer’s jobs is to make firearms on the set safe to handle?)
        This is not an ordinary situation in which standard firearms safety procedures apply, because on the set there are people whose job it is to make sure weapons are safe, and others on the set who rely upon them to do so. What is the purpose of safety experts if they can’t be relied upon?

    Accident is certainly a legal defense in criminal court, which is where I practice. I’d be willing to wager a $100 to a preferred charity not morally offensive to the losing party that it’s equally a defense in civil court, but concede I haven’t researched the question. Have you?

      “Negligence” is an action or failure to act by a defendant who owes a duty of care to a plaintiff.

      In an auto accident, someone has to be at fault (failure to yield, breaking a traffic law, etc.) for one of the parties to collect.

      Someone always has a duty in an ‘accident’, though there certainly can be an ‘accident’ that is both parties’ fault, after which comparative negligence (depending on your state), each side’s ‘fault’ is judged and a percentage is assigned to their liability.

      A store owner has a duty to keep premises clean and in good condition so that there are no tripping hazards to shoppers. So what if a shopper falls through no fault of the store owner or any third party? There’d be no liablity to the store owner, despite the shopper’s ‘accident’.

        And…. in the illustration above, the SHOPPER who fell could have had a duty to act in a reasonable manner in the store (paying reasonable attention to where they’re walking, to avoid colliding with other shoppers, or shopping alone when they’re prone to falling because of health reasons, etc.

        In any event, if you fall, call us at 1-800-WEL-LSUE!

      Joe-dallas in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 25, 2021 at 10:01 am

      As I stated above – the shooter has absolute and ultimate responsibility to ensure the safety of the weapon, That removes the legal defense of “accidental”

Was there an actual bullet in the “prop gun” or a blank? If a real bullet, why? I notice the news crawl in the feature image says the gun “misfire[d]” on set. Did it misfire or was Baldwin just playing with it?

    Vince Vonheeder in reply to Idonttweet. | October 23, 2021 at 2:53 am

    And that, right there, is the very first question to be answered. Why was there a live round in a weapon, prop or not, on the set. Other failures to adhere to well know gun handling rules can then be addressed in assessment of determining the chain of circumstances that led to a death and an injury.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Vince Vonheeder. | October 23, 2021 at 5:23 am

      Blank can be fatal if they’re fired close enough to the target. Also, I read an article elsewhere that stated that the gun and selfishness fired on a couple of occasions. In short, that firearm was in terrible condition, it shouldn’t have been used even as a prop.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Vince Vonheeder. | October 25, 2021 at 12:57 am

      I think we will find that:
      1. The firearm being used as a prop was real, and not a “prop gun” (this explains why it was capable of handling real ammunition, as most prop guns have been modified so live ammo can’t be loaded into them)
      2. That as a real firearm, it is used for real shooting when it’s not being used as a prop.
      3. Prior to being used on the set, it’s last use was the firing of real ammunition
      4. After that use, it was not properly unloaded, and that one or more persons with a duty/responsibility to check the status of the firearm did not do so
      5. The gun was brought to the set in a loaded condition, and one or more people responsible for checking firearms for safety failed to do so

      This scenario does not require the gun to have been mistakenly loaded with live ammo (that shouldn’t have been on-set). “Knowing” there was no live ammo on the set that could be introduced to a firearm may have led to the failure to check the firearms because nobody imagined that a firearm could have been delivered to the set in an unsafe condition.

    Patricia in reply to Idonttweet. | October 23, 2021 at 11:25 am

    A live round in movie production means any projectile, blank or bullet. Real bullets are not allowed on sets at least in CA, so if there was a real bullet….this becomes a murder mystery.

      They were filming in New Mexico. And the union crew walked off the set the day before. They decided to continue work on that day with non-regular, non-union production people. There is gonna be a maddening list of things to go through on this one. 1st off… was Alec set up? And was the shot at the camera part of the ” action ” or as rumored, He shot in frustration after ” cut “, when they said they wanted another take ?? .

        Patricia in reply to RobM. | October 23, 2021 at 1:53 pm

        One reason movies go out of CA is to save money and get away from regulation. So I’m not surprised this low-budget movie was filmed there and that the union people walked off. They were only rehearsing when it went off, so I don’t think he was frustrated or tired, It was early in the day, six hours after the union people walked off at 630 a.m. as I say below. But we will see.

      CapeBuffalo in reply to Patricia. | October 24, 2021 at 9:47 am

      This is starting to sound and look like a Perry Mason mystery.

Nothing has been said about the prop master, if this was really a prop gun. It is the prop master’s obligation to insure that the prop gun is not loaded with live ammo. In fact, the prop master normally insures that there are no real guns and no live ammo on the set, when prop guns are being used.

Generally a prop gun is not a fully functioning gun that is simply loaded with blanks. A prop gun is gimmicked to produce a louder bang with blanks. And if a semi-auto, it is gimmicked to recycle with the less pressure of a blank.

We need a lot more information!

    It is your responsibility to double check the prop gun if the script calls for it to be pointed in a dangerous direction. Let us face the fact that part of making movies of this sort may involve pointing a firearm places where they would not be pointed by a normal responsible gun owner. Under those circumstances, you cannot have single point of failure options. If nothing else, Mr. Baldwin was negligent in not performing a verification of the status of the firearm or if not him, then a second member of the prop team.

    How does a “prop gun” chamber an actual cartridge ? And, why would not a “prop gun” have a barrel obstruction similar to a “starter gun” ? …

    I am suspicious of the use of “prop gun” and wonder whether this is part of the “crisis communication” strategy.

      Albigensian in reply to Sisu. | October 22, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      This is indeed a puzzle: all the headlines refer to this gun as a “prop gun.”

      But if a “prop gun” can fire lethal ammunition, then what makes it a “prop” gun?

        George_Kaplan in reply to Albigensian. | October 22, 2021 at 10:27 pm

        As I understand it a prop gun is a real gun loaded with prop ammunition i.e. blanks. Injuries are possible if the gun is misused, but blanks can’t really kill unless grossly misused. The question is thus was real ammunition fired, or propblank ammunition? And that question would surely have implications for Baldwin’s exposure.

        If real ammunition was fired then someone has to explain how it got into Baldwin’s gun. Was he merely an unwitting triggerman?

        According to the narrative, they use “real” guns because they’re louder!?!. That still doesn’t account for how the gun accidentally discharged, since it could only happen if there was a “live” round UNDER the hammer, and the hammer was struck with a hard enough blow to cause the primer to ignite. Otherwise, it would REQUIRE an affirmative action by the holder to cycle a round under the hammer and release the hammer to impact the round. In the case of a SINGLE action revolver, it would require TWO SEPARATE DELIBERATE ACTIONS by the holder, one to cock the gun and cycle a round under the hammer, and a SECOND DELIBERATE action to fire the gun It could be that he was that stupid, but in any even this wasn’t by any stretch an “accident”.

          BruceG in reply to txvet2. | October 23, 2021 at 8:45 am

          That is MORE of the deliberate fog descending on this event.

          I spent a lot of time on set and location on various productions in my younger days.

          As armourer, I not only had to look after the weapons, I had to train the actor to the point that they did not look like a total dunce with the weapon . i prepared blank ammo or purchased it from other armourers if it was something exotic.

          I co-ordinated with the safety officer at script conferences and during rehearsals and shoots. Thus the general issue of hearing protection to cast and crew and the careful placement of serious Lexan or similar, screens around the camera crew to catch any stray detritus leaving the barrel. NO ACTUAL BULLETS or LIVE AMMUNITION are EVER allowed anywhere near working sets and locations.

          The concept of “recreation shooting “, down by the creek, with the movie guns is just insane.

          DUMMY ammo is an entirely different thing; being exactly what it implies. it LOOKS like LIVE ammo, at a glance, but it does not contain a working primer or propellant. It also must be inspected by the armourer AND the safety officer before appearing on set..

          NOBODY working in an enclosed space wants the blanks to be louder; NOBODY.

          The DOP / (lighting cameraman) and the director want to see lots of flash and smoke, but as little noise as possible. EVERY gunshot you hear in a movie or TV drama, is added in post-production. This is the Fantasy Factory, after all.

          “Blanks” used in the movie biz are loaded to specific requirements. EVERY “practical” (fireable) gun in the inventory has a number of modifications, ALL of which were related to making them look the part on screen AND function safely and reliably with “movie blanks”..

          To that end EVERY barrel was, one way or another, fitted with a “restrictor.” Essentially, this is a plug inside the barrel, or a securely attached external fitting, that “restricts” the passage of gas out of the muzzle. These restrictors are ALWAYS fitted with a very small diameter axial hole which allows a jet of “flash” to escape forward. Mechanisms of semi-auto firearms are “modified to function with blanks of a specific loading. Your basic “manually-operated” firearms are usually mechanically unmodified, but WILL (or SHOULD) have a bore restrictor.

          Getting all of this right is a serious job and a lot of “trade secrets” are involved.

          Regarding that little jet of flame from a “restricted” barrel: Were someone unwise enough to place such a blank-firing gun against their temple and pull the trigger, the result, as at least one Hollywood actor discovered, will be fatal. It’s like putting a small plasma cutter against your head and firing it up.

          This is why, if a scene calls for a gun to be fired AT someone in close proximity, the firer is clearly instructed to “aim off” and the camera crew does their magic with focal lengths and angles. Slick editing of good camerawork works every time.

          Once again: It is the FANTASY FACTORY.

          Sisu in reply to txvet2. | October 23, 2021 at 11:01 am


          I was considering the same, but BruceG’s experience is consistent with this article which appears to confirm what did not happen.

          Attorney Branca’s discussion culpability re: Baldwin, the Producer, may trump the grossly negligent, Baldwin, the Actor.

        Peter Bee in reply to Albigensian. | October 24, 2021 at 7:22 pm

        Most people would know , with common sense, YOU don’t point a gun at anything except at a paper target or in to the sky. Baldwin, or anybody with any kind of gun knowledge would know you don’t point a gun at a person, even kidding, even with a “prop”gun that should have fired only blanks or no bullet at all.

      Colonel Travis in reply to Sisu. | October 22, 2021 at 11:06 pm

      If you block a barrel, you can’t cycle the action in semi- and full auto guns (without obvious modification that no one uses in real life) because there is no spring recoil or gas to move anything. You can shoot once. What about the rest of the rounds in your magazine?

      A revolver doesn’t have this problem, but most people don’t use revolvers any more, which is why you most likely will never see one in a movie unless the story takes place in the past.

        You’re aware that this is a “western” that is set in the Old West?

        bastiatfan in reply to Colonel Travis. | October 23, 2021 at 1:38 am

        It seems you expressed yourself incorrectly, or I misunderstood. A semi- or full auto gas-operated weapon with a blocked barrel cycles just fine with blanks if the blockage is forward of the gas tube, as with an M16 blank firing device. The burning powder in the blank cycles the action. No modification to the action is necessary.

          Colonel Travis in reply to bastiatfan. | October 23, 2021 at 2:07 am

          Correct, thank you. I had a medical thing this morning, I’m on 3 hours of sleep the past 2 nights and I still can’t go to bed. But I can sure type stupid!

    Idonttweet in reply to Geologist. | October 22, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    I got no use for Alec Baldwin, and as entertaining as it may be to ridicule him, the young woman’s death is tragic. Based on the information I’ve seen so far, I’m not too sure I can even lay this entirely at Baldwin’s feet. If the production Armorer or Prop Master hands him the “prop” and tells him it’s loaded with blanks when it isn’t, it seems to me that’s the person who needs to answer some hard questions. I agree with others who say there shouldn’t have even been live ammo for “prop” firearms on set, much less in the guns.

    henrybowman in reply to Geologist. | October 23, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    “Nothing has been said about the prop master”

    Oh, plenty has been said about the prop master. Like that this was the THIRD time one of his guns went off improperly on the set; that in any other (competent) production, the guy would have been fired after the first incident; and that several staff members walked off the set in a job action explicitly because of this issue… but the prop staff wasn’t fired, because the producers were pinching pennies and didn’t want to split for a more competent prop crew.

    And Baldwin was a producer.

James B. Shearer | October 22, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Does the fact that this incident occurred in connection with making a film affect the legal analysis?

    Yes. It makes for a good Netflix special on the subject, hosted by Dave Chappell, who willl not stop making fun of Baldwin.

    As a producer of the low-budget movie (which was having crew morale problems), Baldwin is in the dog house. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Baby Elephant | October 22, 2021 at 5:15 pm

I saw a report that there were three prop gun misfires on the set of that movie in the last week and I’m interested in how/if that changes the situation from accident to negligence or recklessness.

Alec Baldwin’s social distance has been revised.

Gone from 6 feet to at least a mile.

The incident is tragic precisely because it was entirely avoidable. Firearms must always be treated with respect. In this case the firearm was treated with contempt by a man who doesn’t have enough respect for firearms or the very basic but very uniform firearm safety procedures.

IMO, no matter the circumstances, if you pull the trigger you are responsible for what comes after. Some folks like to celebrate by firing into the air. Those bullets come back down and if they impact someone and cause an injury that’s your fault, intent doesn’t apply with a firearm, again IMO.

The only chain of events I can see that removes criminal liability, again IMO, are:
1. Director wants a particular camera angle view of the weapon discharge
2. Stunt/Safety team evaluate how to do this and implement safeguards as to distance, angle/direction the weapon is pointed and remote camera operation
3. Prop master hand Baldwin the firearm
4. Baldwin has invested the time to receive firearm safe handling training; he has personal knowledge and training sufficient to safely handle firearms
5. Baldwin applies that training and knowledge by inspection of the rounds loaded into the weapon to ensure they are not standard ammunition

Unless someone produced a ‘prop’ round of the same weight and feel of standard ammunition that would deceive Baldwin, who should be able to tell the difference due to minimal safety training, then loaded the weapon with those rounds which Baldwin personally inspected, then replaced them with standard ammunition which Baldwin again inspected and was fooled by ……

Just no to the whole it’s an accident BS. Millions of responsible firearms owners are safely handling their firearms today either sighting in or firing in deer season. IMO, he violated several safe firearm handling procedures. He didn’t exercise any minimum threshold of duty. If he had he would have inspected the ammunition, seen and felt the difference in weight between a prop round and a standard round and would have called a halt.

If reports that he ‘jokingly’ and not part of a choreographed filming, pointed the weapon at someone and pulled the trigger are true then it’s even worse. We don’t know enough to determine what happened. IMO, we know plenty enough about safe firearm handling to know that whatever transpired here safe firearm handling almost certainly didn’t enter into it and IMO, that’s enough for criminal liability.

If you act irresponsibly when handling a weapon this is what happens; a completely avoidable death or injury which occurred solely due to your lack of duty to care.

    txvet2 in reply to CommoChief. | October 22, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    He was holding a western style revolver. There’s no way for that gun to accidentally discharge. It takes a deliberate action to cock it and cycle a round under the hammer.

      A “Western” single-action revolver could certainly “accidentally discharge” if there was a round carried under the uncocked hammer, and the uncocked hammer received a blow. That’s why they were usually carried with the chamber under the hammer empty.

        There is absolutely no claim that I have seen anywhere that the gun that he was holding was subjected to a “blow”. That’s a ridiculous claim, and well beneath you. My house gun is a Colt Cobra. Yes, I keep an empty chamber under the hammer, which is why it takes an affirmative act to cycle a round into firing position.
        FWIW, an automatic can also discharge if subjected to a “blow”, and it happened to a close friend when he accidentally dropped his on the floor. He was nearly killed by this obvious accident.

          Colonel Travis in reply to txvet2. | October 22, 2021 at 11:14 pm

          It doesn’t need to be just a blow. I have no idea where these movie guns came from but an old revolver that wasn’t taken care of and has worn out parts – hello ND.

          healthguyfsu in reply to txvet2. | October 22, 2021 at 11:17 pm

          I own a Ruger blackhawk which has a pin stop designed to stop the hammer from hitting a casing if the force that decocks the hammer is anything other than pulling the trigger. The pin stays in the way until you use the trigger to move it.

          Now, this is not an authentic piece of western hardware that would be more likely to have an accidental discharge, but I thought I’d mention it as a reason I picked the gun for an extra safety feature as single action revolvers go.

          Whether it’s 100% I don’t know for sure, and I wouldn’t rely on it to allow me to point at someone recklessly.

          txvet2 in reply to txvet2. | October 23, 2021 at 12:10 am

          Col Travis: It would still require that the gun be cocked, unless you think that a revolver can spontaneously fire without impact against the firing pin.

          Colonel Travis in reply to txvet2. | October 23, 2021 at 1:05 am

          txvet2 – Yes, a gun doesn’t shoot on its own. But look who we’re dealing with. He makes Gabby Giffords look like Jeff Cooper.

          Liz in reply to txvet2. | October 23, 2021 at 2:34 pm

          I read Mr. Branca’s comment as a “general – info comment” and not one specific to this incident.

          As I am reading through these comments, I think a post on definitions of terms needs to be written. We need to realize that a term means one thing in legalese, another in movie talk, and still another meaning in general use.

          And there have been some very good comments on how the movie business operates.

        Old revolvers had firing pins that were situated between the hammer and the bullet – meaning that dropping the gun on its hammer could drive the firing pin into the bullet’s primer.

        Modern revolvers and pistols have a passive safety system called firing pin block (aka “hammer the hammer”:) meaning, there’s a metal plate between the bullet’s primer and the hammer whenever the trigger is not pulled.

        However, there is no safety system yet devised for rage-a-holics like Baldwin.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 25, 2021 at 1:05 am

        Many modern replicas of historical revolvers have mechanisms that are different (modern) to prevent that problem. Unless the viewer is given a clear look at the cocked hammer (in order to see if there’s a firing pin on it or not), the firearm will pass muster in a western for most movie-goers.

    Peter Bee in reply to CommoChief. | October 24, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Throw the book at Baldwin. He acted irresponsible and pulled the trigger, pointing the gun at a live person. Charged with negligent homicide.

My take on this is that ALEC BALDWIN is probably protected on this. On a movie set, you can be handed any number of realistic-looking bullets, bombs, explosives, etc, and it is simply impossible for an actor with no expertise to be able to identify what is real vs fake. They have to take the word of the experts explicitly hired for that purpose. If Baldwin followed the procedures that they had in place, he should not be legally liable (although IMO he should FEEL guilty for the rest of his life).

Now the gun consultant/armourer/expert that they hired SHOULD be held criminally negligent for murder if their procedures allowed real bullets in a gun to be handed to an actor. SOMEBODY royally fucked up and somebody died.

    CommoChief in reply to Olinser. | October 22, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    That is one view and if Baldwin were only an actor it would be more persuasive. Branca put paid to that argument in correctly noting that Baldwin wasn’t only an actor on set. He was also a producer which means he had input and responsibilities far above that of just an actor.

    He had budget input. He had hiring and managerial input of the cast and the crew; to include the selection of the prop master. He had responsibility for the establishment of safe working conditions which include proper safe firearm handling procedures for everyone on set who touches a firearm.

    I think they will try to find a way to sue the gun manufacturer.

    AnAdultInDiapers in reply to Olinser. | October 22, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    “If Baldwin followed the procedures that they had in place” is a very big ‘if’.

    For me it’s too big an ‘if’ to agree that he’s probably protected. I think he’s probably facing civil liability and if the rumours floating around are correct regarding the circumstances, he’s not just facing criminal charges, someone acting as those rumours describe (and as used as an example in the article) absolutely needs to be prosecuted.

    Pointing a firearm at someone and pulling the trigger? It’s criminally reckless. At the shooting ranges I’ve been to just pointing the damn thing will get you sanctioned – including violence.

      He was threatening the director with the gun when he wanted a retake, he actually pointed the gun and said something to the effect to retake this

      He’s an ass and he shot it twice?

        txvet2 in reply to gonzotx. | October 23, 2021 at 12:16 am

        Another point that had to be true. He had to be pointing the gun at her WHILE HE WAS COCKING IT AND PULLING THE TRIGGER – whether he thought the gun was “real” or not. One account that I’ve seen claims that he said something to the effect that “I may as well just shoot you” or something similar when he fired the shot that killer her. Manslaughter at the very least.

          Agreed, based on what we now know (which may not be the whole story as we’ve learned from the past in shooting cases, but I’m sorry, there is no way in hell I am standing in the line of fire of any gun, real or not, loaded with live rounds or blanks. Gun safely includes learning that standing in front of a gun that is about to be fired directly at you is not a good idea. And this woman was neither an actor nor the camerawoman, the one standing literally behind the camera, she was the director of photography with access to feeds and vid. She should never have been there in the first place, at least based on what we now know.

          I get what people are saying, but I think this stinks to high heaven. ‘Negligence’ is probably generous.

          And if he said that, ugh. Funny funny joke while aiming a gun at and pulling the trigger on a defenseless woman. Obviously, heresay at this point, but this is why anti-gun lefties should indeed be “triggered” by toast guns. They have no clue. Zero.

          Meanwhile, he’ll not be charged because waving a gun around and shooting people with “blanks” will result in his acquittal (or at the most some wrist slap). Personally, I think waving around a gun as a “joke” is not only unfunny but potentially, as we’ve seen here, deadly. This is why we train with firearms. You draw your weapon for one reason. Only one. And, surprise!, that one reason is not that it’s so fun and funny to draw on another human being for S&G.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Olinser. | October 22, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    The question should be, who put live ammo in a pro gun. That sounds intentional

      Happens all the time with movie guns in isolated locations. Sets have dead time, for at least some of the crew. Open space, guns, garbage to shoot at if only from meals, it’s all fun and games until somebody forgets to clear the set gun.

        healthguyfsu in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 22, 2021 at 11:18 pm

        Sounds like amateur hour….no wonder Hollywood types want to ban guns. They are a pile of reckless amateurs with little common sense towards safety.

        I agree. Everybody in Hollywood is stupid.

        “Recreational shooting”, with live ammo? from “movie guns”?

        Settle down.

        How many tv / movie shoots have you been on? And, on how many of these have you personally witnessed such things?

        Responsible armourers never let their tools of trade out of their sight.

        The vehicle wranglers do the same with their cars and motorbikes and the pyrotechnicians are VERY wary of sticky fingers getting close to their toys.

        Does the sound crew let the caterers fool around with their microphones, boom poles, and recorders?

        Do the caterers (craft services) let just anyone into their kitchens and larders?

        Too many people around who learned their “gun-craft” from watching TV, for starters.

        CapeBuffalo in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 24, 2021 at 10:27 am

        Interesting comment from an expert, Could you please cite documentation to back the statement.
        I am not doubting or being a wise ass but genuinely interested. It makes sense but boggles my mind that there is such lack of professionalism in the industry

    As producer, he’s going to be liable for negligent hiring or negligent supervision of the employee who handed him the loaded gun.

    ANevskyUSA in reply to Olinser. | October 23, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Old revolvers like the Colt SAA had a firing pin that was part of the hammer itself (which I guess technically makes it a striker); the frame had a small hole in it aligned with the pimer, and the firing pin was long enough to protrude through the hole to strike the primer when the hammer rested on the frame. Thus, even uncocked, the firing pin is in contact with the primer, and force that jostled the hammer could well be enough to crush the ignition material in the primer and fire the gun.

    Guns like the Ruger Vaquero have a free-floating firing pin (or maybe one with rearward spring tension – I can’t remember) housed in the frame and a hammer that doesn’t reach it when resting on the frame. When the gun is cooked, a transfer bar is moved between the hammer and the firing pin such that when the hammer falls, it will hit the transfer bar which in turn will hit the firing pin which in turn will strike the hammer. This system should, in theory, prevent the revolver from discharging if not cocked because there would be no transfer bar between the hammer and the FP so that any forward pressure on the hammer would nevertheless not translate into forward pressure on the FP.

    The hammer block was a more modern development that looks like a transfer bar but works in the opposite way. In these cases, the hammer is long enough/shaped properly to contact the FP, but the block is in the way so that the hammer rests on it rather than on the frame. This block is moved out of the way when the gun is cocked.

    None of this is to contradict you. I am just showing off. 😛

In 2017 POS Baldwin tweeted, “I wonder how it must feel to wrongfully kill someone.”

Apparently Baldwin really wanted an answer to that question. Lets all go and ask him.

It’s a real shame that lefty/Democrat hypocrisy can’t be used as an energy source. There’s just so much of it.

And if Baldwin (to repeat, a POS) had really wanted the answer, he might have consulted with his fellow POS Ted Kennedy.

Question for extra credit. Why was there actual ammunition on a movie set in the first place?

Joey Williams | October 22, 2021 at 5:33 pm

Shame on you This is far too early to be doing any analysis of the situation. The facts are few and far between; trying to determine what happened is akin to assessing responsibility for the sinking of the Titanic on April 16, 1912.

It takes time to assemble the facts, and assessing responsibility without knowledge of all the circumstance is just plain wrong.

    Maybe so, but when we can have some fun mocking this insufferable Democrat, I’m all for it.

    Petrushka in reply to Joey Williams. | October 22, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    We know the gun was pointed at someone and was fired. I knew at age eight not ever to point a gun at anyone, because it is always loaded.

    Checking does not make it not loaded.

    Shame on you

    healthguyfsu in reply to Joey Williams. | October 22, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    Baby kangaroo, if you are referring to the author’s article I’m guessing you didn’t bother to read the article where he doesn’t in fact draw any conclusions. Comprehension is key but lefty’s love to jump the gun….oops did I just make a pun in poor taste? Relax, jump the gun is about track races using prop-style pop guns, those could never fire live rounds could they??

    Colonel Travis in reply to Joey Williams. | October 22, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    He said exactly what you think he didn’t say. For someone who is so keen on not jumping to conclusions, might want to look in the mirror. This is what he said near the beginning:

    “To be clear, our goal here is not necessarily to arrive at a definitive legal answer—I’m not sure we really know enough facts with enough certainty to do that.

    But if we can’t immediately arrive at the right legal answer, at the very least we can understand how to ask the right legal question—and that’s what we’ll do right here, right now.”

    Pro-tip… if you go off and comment half cocked on this site, you’re likely to get your face blown off.

    CommoChief in reply to Joey Williams. | October 23, 2021 at 2:44 pm


    Well here’s what we know:

    1. Baldwin had control of the firearm
    2. Baldwin didn’t ensure the firearm contained blanks v standard rounds
    3. Baldwin aimed the firearm
    4. The firearm was pointed at a human being
    5. Baldwin pulled the trigger (misfire or that discharge has not been alleged)
    6. The firearm discharged in response to pulling the trigger
    7. The round(s?) struck and killed one human being and injured another human being

    Basic firearm safety rules, taught to children mind you, specifically state not to do the above. Please tell me what more we will learn that negates the above?


People don’t kill – guns d0 = according to Progressives.

Baldwin probably believes he did not kill anyone – it was the gun. He will come out and say “This Proves Guns Must Be Banned”


Wish Baldwin would make a movie with Soros

I’ve taught my children; I’ll teach my grandchildren:
1. handle all guns as though they have live ammunition in the chamber
2. until you’re ready to fire, the finger should be nowhere near the trigger
3. do not point a gun at anyone unless you mean to kill him/her/whatever
4. do not handle a gun if you are drunk, high, or otherwise incapacitated

“Second, anyone handling an inherently dangerous object such as a firearm would be presumed to possess the safety knowledge needed to handle that firearm safely around others—a claim of ignorance is no defense when one is handling inherently dangerous objects.”

It will be difficult for Baldwin to profess ignorance of gun safety, given that he is a named consultant to Everytown For Gun Safety.

[Julianne] Moore said she then reached out to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, and in 2015, started the Everytown Creative Council, gathering stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Aniston to take action. “This is not an anti-gun or pro-gun argument. It’s a safety issue. In our country we have a right to bear arms. But we also have a responsibility to bear arms safely. On an average day, seven kids or teens are killed by guns. With regulation, you reduce deaths,” she said.

The Creative Council will partner with Everytown on an ongoing basis to help recruit more people to join the gun violence prevention movement and achieve victories that will save lives. Members will contribute in a wide variety of ways, including inviting their fans to get involved, participating in Everytown events, brainstorming new approaches to grow the gun violence prevention movement and supporting efforts to pass common-sense gun safety legislation. “Despite the same levels of mental illness and exposure to the same TV, movies, music, and culture, our gun murder rate is 20 times higher than that of other developed countries. Why the difference? It’s far easier for dangerous people to get their hands on guns here in America,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety.

Too bad “gun-safety expert” Alec is such a left-wing liar, or he would have been “safely” out of the USA since the Bush election, making straight-to-video content in a country where they don’t allow people like him to handle guns.

    That is just a leftist organization that defines gun safety as banning guns claiming to be for gun safety.

    He wants to ban the AR 15 because of how powerful and high caliber it is…..yep he knows nothing about guns besides he wants them banned.

      CommoChief in reply to Danny. | October 22, 2021 at 11:59 pm


      Yes it certainly is and he is welcome to make that same admission in open court to rebut should the prosecution introduce his role in this organization as evidence that Baldwin was some sort of firearm expert.

      IOW Baldwin will have the opportunity to admit he and the organization is a fraud uninterested in actual firearm safety but rather in advancing a gun control agenda under the veneer of safety.

I don’t think I fully agree with the explanation given above (but I mostly agree).

Actors are called on over and over to point prop guns at other actors and pull their triggers. If Baldwin can show that he has done so without incident thousands of times, and that doing so is a completely normal and usual part of what actors are called on to do, I don’t think he could, or should, be held negligent.

It may well be that the person who had the responsibility for making sure the gun was safe to use as a prop acted negligently.

(I say this without being, in even the slightest way, a fan of Alec Baldwin).

    henrybowman in reply to Wisewerds. | October 22, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Except that Baldwin wasn’t an actor. He was a director, and had no reason to be playing with the prop gun.

    fogflyer in reply to Wisewerds. | October 25, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    “Actors are called on over and over to point prop guns at other actors and pull their triggers. ”

    No, they are not. I worked as a cameraman for awhile. Not on any Hollywood productions, but small scale stuff. Gun scenes are like fight scenes, no one ever actually points the gun at another actor, just like they don’t actually punch another actor in the face. It is all about camera angles to make it appear that way. And when you see a gun being discharged directly at a camera, there isn’t anyone behind the camera.

It’s a tragedy that someone was killed.

But it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving a$$hole than Baldwin.

Unless he was aiming somewhere else and pulling the trigger as part of a rehearsal or take he is fully culpable. And even then, he should have checked to see if the gun was loaded when it was handed to him.

Watch as he tries to shift blame. Because he’s basically a bully who has gotten away with behavior most people can’t get away with.

And then claim this is why ‘ordinary’ people should not be allowed to have firearms. Because if it could happen to an exceptionally intelligent individual like him it could happen to anybody.

Saw a Perry Mason episode recently that is eerily similar, but it took an hour to find the shooter. Calling Paul Drake!

Considering Mr. Baldwin’s notorious temper shouldn’t there be a red flag restraining order on him handling a firearm?

Attorney Branca,

It is early, however you walked the line of possible circumstances and technical analysis in an apparent balanced fashion. Well done.

To those who might say “too soon to comment”, Alec Baldwin has never hesitated to share his thoughts based on nothing more than emotion and baseless conjecture.

Several interesting comments above including one which notes his role in and advocacy with “Everytown For Gun Safety”. And, a discussion of “prop guns” above – how does a “prop gun” chamber an actual cartridge ?

What I also want to learn: Is Alec Baldwin one of the select few among the connected and elites who have been awarded a NYC/NYS “Unrestricted Carry” Pistol License ?

OKAY, so after some more information has come out – IF TRUE – then Baldwin may be well and truly fucked.

ALLEGEDLY, it has been reported in multiple different outlets that a number of workers (6-12 from various outlets), walked off the set earlier the same day SPECIFICALLY to protest working conditions.

If Baldwin as producer is the one that was responsible for the working conditions, then he may have serious liability here.

    Yes, six union camera operators and their assistants quit the set over paycheck delivery, hotel accommodations, and safety on set. The union prop master/armorer also quit for safety concerns, too few safety meetings with cast and crew, as well as the “prop gun” accidents the previous week.

    Before these people had actually left the set, non-union replacements were on set. The non-union armorer had possession of the “prop gun.” It’s unclear if he was qualified on set weapons.

    The revolver in question is not a “prop gun.” It is a real bullet firing six-shooter. Prop guns are rubber or wood generally causing not much harm beyond cuts and bruises.

    Alec Baldwin as a producer was to arrange proper accommodations for the cast and crew, obtain adequate funding to pay the employees fully and on time, schedule and hold regular safety meetings, vet crew qualifications, and verify equipment operational/safety certifications. From early reports, Mr. Baldwin failed each of his producer responsibilities leading up to the fatal firearm discharge.

      Bruce Hayden in reply to Indigo Red. | October 23, 2021 at 5:09 am

      I would think that hiring scab labor, and esp the scab prop master, might be aggravating factors. Baldwin was cutting corners to save himself money, he was also apparently pushing everyone more than usual, for similar reasons. The new person in charge of props may not have had a chance to double check this gun. There are also reports that safety meetings and the like were being shortened or skipped. Of course, Baldwin didn’t need to attend them, since he was an experienced actor who had dealt with prop guns plenty throughout his career 😉, and as a producer and director could exempt himself, or waive them for everyone. Except that the union workers probably wouldn’t have stood for cutting safety measures. But then they had just been fired, and replaced, apparently for budgetary reasons.

      I think that is how a prosecutor could get to reckless – because it appears that it wasn’t just one negligent action by Baldwin that looks like it caused the death and wounding, but a series of unfortunate decisions, including rushing safety, replacing the person in charge of the safety, probably not giving them enough time to do their job personally, then, of course, pointing an unsafe gun at the woman, and pulling the trigger.

      You can’t, ever, rush safety, or take shortcuts, when it comes to firearms. Everyone who takes shooting seriously knows this. Baldwin obviously didn’t, and a woman is dead as a result.

      henrybowman in reply to Indigo Red. | October 23, 2021 at 6:41 pm

      Yeah, well, someone elsewhere just schooled me on how Hollywood works, not that I was ever an expert on it.

      Baldwin isn’t “the” producer, he’s one of a dozen producers, five of whom are in actual charge of things like hiring and wages… and he’s not one of those five. As one of the stars, and presumably an investor in the movie, Baldwin’s title is more of a vanity title, like “Limited Partner” in real estate. (The old joke goes, in a Limited Partnership, the General Partner contributes experience and walks away with money, while the Limited Partners contribute money and walk away with experience.)

      Alec Baldwin … producer
      Kc Brandenstein … co-producer
      Allen Cheney … executive producer
      Matt DelPiano … producer
      Tyler Gould … executive producer
      Matthew Helderman … executive producer
      Nathan Klingher … producer
      Anjul Nigam … producer
      Emily Hunter Salveson … executive producer
      Ryan Donnell Smith … producer
      Luke Taylor … executive producer
      Ryan Winterstern … producer

Well, he is the retard that pointed a firearm at someone and then pulled the trigger. That doesn’t happen by accident and violates all gun safety practices. Never point a gun, loaded or not, at anything you don’t plan on shooting.

Thank you for the article. Well worth my time reading.

I have a personal policy not to read comments. 99% a waste of time. My policy is validated.

    Colonel Travis in reply to Aluminizer. | October 22, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    Like this comment added to the discussion….
    How about just stay away and save you and the rest of us any grief with your useless filler.

Baldwin killed more people than the J6 protestors did. Yet the J6 protestors will stay in jail longer than Baldwin will.

This is what white Communist privilege looks like.

Let’s err on the side caution, and book’em dano.

baldwin is an arrogant ass but he’s apparently a careless ass as well–he’s very lucky that the lady wasn’t black and that he didn’t kill them both

condolences to the victim’s families

my grandfather had a standard line regards firearms: ” no one’s ever been shot with an empty gun. ”

when read of an event like this, always think of terry kath–lord, what a loss

One thing that I haven’t seen brought up is that he was holding a revolver, and an old model at that. That means that it was a deliberate act on his part to cock the hammer. Even on a double-action, it requires a significant trigger pull. It can’t happen by accident.

    txvet2 in reply to txvet2. | October 22, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    Plus, of course, earing back the hammer either way cycles a round under the hammer. That means that the round that fired wasn’t originally under the hammer. That still looks deliberate.

One shot, two down. Only happens in the movies.

A couple of things from the early reports are troubling. What on earth was a co-producer (Baldwin) of the movie doing pointing and shooting even a (what he believed to be a “cold” gun(!?)) at a cinematographer’s chest? This isn’t Brandon Lee, where an actor was handed a gun to use in a scene being filmed for a movie. Neither of the persons was even in the film. It makes zero sense. And why was he even handed the “cold” gun in the first place?

Honestly, this is why anti-gun loons should not be allowed to handle even toast shaped like a gun. They don’t understand gun safety at all, and they think guns are funny and fun toys. Until someone dies.

    I agree 100% but would add one other thing.

    Alec Baldwin should have acted not just responsibly but have been setting a good example to the other actors. His ideology however prevented him from seeing a gun as what it actually is and instead thinking it is just as you said a toy.

    It’s very possible the shot (no pun intended) was set up so that Baldwin would be pointing and shooting his blanks toward the camera, to the audience’s point of view.

    NOW: can you imagine when the cops look at the film footage taken during the killing?

      Hmm, I guess so, that does sound possible. In the meantime, some lawyer type needs to tell him to stop tweeting.

        It should be a standard safety procedure for these looking into camera shots to have a safety screen around the camera and crew so that no one is in danger. If there wasn’t a safety screen, then the producer & safety crew are responsible. Baldwin has been on enough movie sets to know of these basic safety procedures.

    Alec Baldwin was playing the lead character in the movie as well as producing.

You shouldn’t be able to outsource your responsibility when it comes to firearms. He pointed it at humans and pulled the trigger. I don’t care if he was told it was safe. If someone hands me a gun on the range and says, “don’t worry, it’s not hot”, I’m gonna fucking check for myself, even if its my husband handing me the firearm. If it’s actually capable of firing a projectile, I’m not pointing it at people and pulling the trigger, regardless of whether it’s loaded or not.

They’re not toys.

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | October 22, 2021 at 10:48 pm

Congratulations Alec Baldwin. Your “prop” gun has killed more people than my real gun.

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | October 22, 2021 at 10:50 pm

So, Kyle Rittenhouse kills in self defense and has to spend who knows how long in jail prior to his trial.

Alec Baldwin kills in a reckless manner, and gets “investigated.”

This is the most proximate case I can remember given the circumstances. This settlement was made in spite of the fact that the actor shot (Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son) was in the movie and supposed to be pointed at. You can use camera tricks to never actually point the gun and fire at the actor and they probably should have done that instead.

In Baldwin’s case, he wasn’t even pointing at an actor in the film that was supposed to be fake shot at. I think this will never see the inside of a civil court room because anyone on the defense side will want to settle to stay out of the press as much as possible.

I do think he will be cleared of criminal wrongdoing unless the negligence rises to the level of criminal offense. There are lots of rumors, but none are known as fact. Plus, Baldwin is regularly hated by some Hollywood lefties and lots of righties, so I think it’s not worth putting any stock in a rumor right now.

On second thought, lets not give him any benefit of the doubt. I’m sure he afforded no such benefit to George Zimmerman or Derek Chauvin.

He was reckless and might have had a vendetta against women. I mean he is a white male after all! That means he’s guilty of something…we just have to figure out what so we can have a sham trial!

E Howard Hunt | October 23, 2021 at 3:13 am

Too bad when he was horsing around with the gun he didn’t point it as himself. That would have put him in a second dual position.

VetHusbandFather | October 23, 2021 at 8:01 am

Question: I see a lot of stories in the liberal media calling this a confirmed “prop gun”. Is there really such a thing as a “prop gun” or is this just a normal firearm loaded with blanks? Seems like they are stretching to differentiate this from the dangerous firearms is crazy gun nuts keep in our house.

Richard Aubrey | October 23, 2021 at 9:23 am

There are two ways to make full or semi auto weapons work with blanks. One is to put a restricting device in the barrel to restrict gas flow and build up back pressure to cycle the weapon.
The other is a blank adapter, which clamps onto the muzzle of the weapon with a restrictive end into the muzzle, providing the back pressure, When I was in, these were clunky orange things which made even an M60 look something like a SuperSoaker. Obviously not the thing for movies. But you take it off and you can use genuine ammunition. Cool.
The restricting device within the barrel can’t be seen from the outside, good for movies. But since it can’t be seen from the outside, anybody looking at the weapon from the outside can’t see it. Which means some clown might put a full round in the weapon. Call me from the next time zone.
Alternatively, the restrictive device within the barrel–which may have been welded on or otherwise affixed–comes loose and a genuine blank will propel it downrange like a bullet.
Even if a gun smith says he’s removed the thing, I’m not sure I’d want to use the weapon in the conventional manner.

I think the ‘live ammo’ angle is just a ruse to allow for a conspiracy theory against Alex Baldwin. It doesn’t make any sense. I spoke with some prop guys and they say they always use plexiglass as a safety measure when shooting off any gun in a scene. The Unions are pretty intense about saftey. ( I think this goes back to Brandon Lee ) We, the viewing public, may never notice this because it is VFX’d out. Plus they only use rubber bullets. But I will wait to hear what evidence comes out in regards to this shooting. Maybe this was someone else’s gun that was brought to the set and Alex was reckless with it? Maybe horsing around got out of hand?

    Colonel Travis in reply to CateDean. | October 23, 2021 at 4:46 pm


    1.) Someone is really dead after Baldwin really shot her. Live ammo means case, primer, propellant, projectile. Blanks do not have projectiles. It sounds like live ammo is exactly what it was, since the director was also injured by a single shot. If not, then it was a squib load, but I question that for a number of reasons. Yes, I know that is what killed Brandon Lee, but that bullet (or fragment, I have never read any conclusive evidence about what exactly it was) didn’t go through him. Knowing the exact injury of the director would help understand what happened.

    1a.) Rubber bullets can seriously injure or kill someone but a single rubber bullet won’t penetrate two human beings and will rarely completely puncture one unless the tissue is extremely soft like an eyeball. What is the scenario for using rubber bullets on a movie set? I can think of no good reason to use them unless you are filming what a rubber bullet actually does and even then you don’t shoot the damn things at someone.

    2.) No, they don’t always use plexiglass with gun scenes. Trying boxing up a handheld cameraman in plexiglass. We don’t know if there was any screen in front of the camera when Baldwin fired the pistol. If there was, it clearly didn’t help.

    3.) The unions haven’t prevented dozens of deaths on movie sets since Brandon Lee. Deaths from firearms on a movie set are extremely rare. Deaths and serious injury are not and are under-reported. Plus I have read how Hollywood tries to get out of settlements for these deaths and injuries, the whole industry sounds disgusting.

      I believe that Lexan would have to be an inch thick or more to stop a bullet

      That would make an enclosure pretty hefty

        Colonel Travis in reply to murkyv. | October 23, 2021 at 7:57 pm

        Extremely hefty! I will say that .223 will go through an inch of lexan, 9mm will eventually go through an inch after a few blows if you keep hitting near where the first one landed. Those are the only calibers I’ve tried against a piece that was about 2 feet by 3 feet.

Isn’t there still the problem a gun was fired at a woman and a man down range who had no reason to be in the line of fire no matter what the circumstances of weapon are? And whatevrr this “prop” nomenclature is it was capable of firing a real bullet so has to be part of smoke and mirrors being set up to dismiss this in public opinion.

Russ from Winterset | October 23, 2021 at 10:18 am

I see a lot of questions about the term “prop gun”, and while I am not a lawyer, I think I can provide a good definition.

A “prop gun” is any real gun, blank-only replica or unfiring replica (even a plastic/rubber fake) that is normally kept in the custody of a designated employee of the production. If it were a car, it would not be used outside of filming during the production, as opposed to a participant’s personal vehicle, which could be used for filming in a pinch. This would differentiate the prop gun from a personal gun carried by a crew member. The big difference is that the prop gun is kept in the custody of the prop department and constantly checked for proper functioning and the absence of dangerous situations like malfunctioning parts and barrel obstructions (yes, this includes the presence of live ammo). This establishes a “chain of custody” if you will, and helps the actors and crew feel confident that it will not hurt them.

The part of this story that really jumps out at me is that the gun in question reportedly “misfired” THREE times in the days leading up to this incident. Since “misfire” refers to when a live cartridge fails to fire when it’s primer is struck, I’m pretty sure this should be referred to as either a negligent discharge (if the gun is fired mistakenly by the operator) or a mechanical failure (gun goes off without the trigger being pulled).

Once this gun has demonstrated the tendency to discharge from mechanical failure, the prop department AND the producer/director should have stopped using it for anything other than cosmetic use (sitting in a holster vs. being used with blanks). If the problems were negligent discharges, responsible parties on set should have delivered an ass-chewing that would make Gunnery Sgt. Hartmann blush.

The fact that they kept using this gun after repeated failures might escalate exposure to criminal and civil liability. The failure of a gun that previously had a spotless record is one thing, but one that had a track record of failures? That’s like a doctor giving a patient pills that are contaminated by cyanide: a product defect if it’s the first one out of the pill bottle, but negligence by the doctor if he had knowledge that three or four pills in that same bottle had already hurt or killed patients because of cyanide contamination.

Of course, if the round involved here proves to be a live one, the source of that cartridge will be the primary consideration. Live ammunition does not just fall from the skies like rain. Someone brought it onto the set.

Russ from Winterset | October 23, 2021 at 10:21 am

Sorry about the tl:dr post. Hope it was helpful.

Insufficiently Sensitive | October 23, 2021 at 10:28 am

Strong presumption of guilt on the part of whoever put a live cartridge into that pistol, BUT: the first rule of gun safety is never point the weapon at someone or something you don’t intend to shoot – let alone pull the trigger. As Producer, Mr. Baldwin is in it up to his neck.

MoeHowardwasright | October 23, 2021 at 11:05 am

As a former member of the military. (Marines) I can tell you with absolute certainty that when we were on maneuvers. We were issued blanks that had the same pressure level as as live ammo to cycle the actions on our M16’s. The blanks were blue. It was OUR personal responsibility to make sure all ammo issued to us had a blue tip and not a live round. We loaded and then verified to our superior that it was blue. We checked each other during this process to have a double check as well. This has all the hallmarks of someone using the gun for actual firing at a range set up on set or off and then forgetting to unload and reload blanks.

    I think you are mistaken. Former US Army here, and assistant instructor at the US Army Armor School (as well as a squad leader in a recon platoon).
    You’re describing practice rounds for larger-caliber weapons such as tank main guns and cannons. AKA TPT rounds, “target practice, tracer.” (
    These will still do a number on you, they just lack an explosive charge to make them less expensive to use in training. Otherwise they’re hard, they’re heavy, and they have the same ballistic performance as the real thing.
    Your terminology (blue tips) also suggests you’re talking about a projectile mounted in the case. The term “tip” is regularly used to describe certain types of bullets with colored tips (such as the “green tip” M855 5.56mm round for the M-16/M-4/AR-15 weapons). These rounds are all live, because no blank round has a bullet which could have a “tip.”
    Blanks, such as used in rifles, machine guns, and handguns, have no projectile (nor anything representing a projectile) at all. It’s just a case crimped at the mouth (where the bullet is seated in a live round) to keep the powder from spilling out. They are sealed to keep moisture out. (Real military small arms ammo is sealed at the primer and at the case mouth to keep out moisture too.)
    Then there are inert or “dummy” rounds, which are also meant for use in training, but they have neither a primer nor powder, and the projectile may or may not be real (but, if real, would be ball, in the case of small-arms ammo, or a practice/non-explosive round, in the case of small cannon and larger rounds). They are used to practice loading and unloading of a variety of weapons, from handguns to howitzers.

      I’m thinking you’re both right (or at least according to an internet chart I dug up) Blue tip ammunition is low-velocity and used in training. Blanks are crimped closed with a VIOLET plug in the end. Both are easily distinguishable from the rest of the ammunition types when you see the whole round. Alec was dealing with an antique revolver where about the only spot you could see a round out of the six loaded was through the loading gate, and then you could only see the butt end of one. (which should be stamped ‘blank’ as I recall)

        henrybowman in reply to georgfelis. | October 25, 2021 at 4:32 pm

        Except in Baldwin’s case, the gun was not even supposed to be “only” loaded with blanks — it was supposed to be EMPTY, which is trivially ascertainable to any soccer mom with ten minutes of training… much less a “national spokesperson for gun safety.”

Thanks for the writeup. I do not believe though the whole scenario of Baldwin waving the gun around and aiming it at the director, fwiw. The crew was not “tired”. They were the new crew and had only arrived at 7 a.m. or so and the filming was in daylight. I have worked on many sets and this is not a long day. And they were rehearsing so maybe had done a couple of takes to set up the shot. And no one, even Baldwin unless he were insanely drunk, would ever do this! However, there had been two previous “misfires” earlier so perhaps he was negligent in not checking the gun himself this time. The props master certainly is. Remember, they told Baldwin the gun was “cold” when they handed it to him. Perhaps he should have said, “let’s check it one more time” and the armorer would come out and do so. At least in CA they would. Any person on set can demand that in CA but of course they only do this when the gun is “hot” or the actor is not sure if it is or not. So my theory is there’s plenty of civil liability, from hiring a brand new armorer on. But criminal? Don’t think so. I will be very surprised if he really did wave the gun around and fire. I sure hope he didn’t.

    CommoChief in reply to Patricia. | October 23, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Once the weapon is in your hand it is your responsibility to determine whether the weapon is loaded and if blanks are being used whether the rounds are in fact blanks v standard ammunition.

    All the other steps, procedures and assistance of others is nice but irrelevant. The person pulling the trigger is responsible for what happens next. Basic firearm safety isn’t new or unusual or secret. Those of us who have firearms were taught:
    1. Always regard a firearm as loaded
    2. Don’t point a firearm at anything/anyone you don’t want a bullet to impact
    3. Upon picking up, drawing or being handed a firearm always determine if the firearm is loaded
    4. The user is responsible for what happens during use
    5. Firearms are to be respected, they are not toys, no grab-ass or joking with a firearm ever

    Where blank ammo is used and multiple people are handling the firearm, everyone should be taught the above plus the difference in weight and feel of blank ammo v standard ammo. Then apply an additional step of ensuring that the blank ammo is actually blank ammo v standard ammo before firing.

    Hollywood productions have had plenty of issues previously; Brandon Lee. They incorporated safety protocols to mitigate the potential for issues. I find it difficult to believe that identifying blank am!o v live ammo on set in a firearm was not part of the safety protocols.

      Patricia in reply to CommoChief. | October 23, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      I completely agree with you about responsibility. But as I say on movie sets the armorer does that. It was stupid for Baldwin to assume that was done, esp. since there were previous mishaps. I’m sure it will change, in that ANY TIME you hand a gun to an actor you go through the protocols. They are quite extensive and visible to everyone. The prop master here is in big trouble and is finished in the industry.

        CommoChief in reply to Patricia. | October 23, 2021 at 2:55 pm


        Respectively, the location or reason for handling a firearm doesn’t change the basic and universal firearm safety rules. If you have control of the firearm it’s your responsibility period. There isn’t any Hollywood exception to this.

        Under your logic if I have a permit to film then I get a pass on responsibility for killing someone because the ineffective additional safety protocols of the movie/tv industry were not followed? No way.

        Firearm safety is ultimately an individual not collective responsibility. That responsibility for following basic firearm safe handling rules can not be outsourced.

          Patricia in reply to CommoChief. | October 23, 2021 at 4:33 pm

          I agreed with you. I was merely telling you how it is done, which is of course in retrospect wrong. It’s not my logic.
          Have a good day. Bye.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | October 23, 2021 at 4:47 pm


          In your original post you seemed to imply that no criminal liability existed for Baldwin based upon Hollywood production procedures. I haven’t seen you walk that back in any direct way but I will concede you may have intended to.

          I appreciate your willingness to both comment and provide an inside view of what goes on at a set. Thanks for that insight into a closed environment that most of us have no first hand knowledge of. No hard feelings on my end.

    Colonel Travis in reply to Patricia. | October 23, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    I’ve read what you said about Baldwin’s responsibility and agree with you, except that I just wanted to emphasize that legally reckless = criminal liability. You don’t have to be waving a gun around to be reckless. According to court records, Baldwin was apparently so close to the cinematographer that he had blood-stained clothes. There are only two ways he could point that barrel at someone: knowingly or unknowingly. Either one means Baldwin intentionally disregarded risk. And, as you have said elsewhere, Hollywood standards have become more strict with firearms since Brandon Lee’s death. This makes Baldwin look even worse.

    I’m all for punishing those who were negligent behind Baldwin. But he is the one who intentionally or unintentionally pointed a gun at someone and intentionally or unintentionally pulled the trigger. We don’t know everything that happened, but I’m not sure how you can completely write off criminal liability yet.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | October 23, 2021 at 12:18 pm

Alec Baldwin’s firing of the gun in his hand, with fatal results—presumably without any actual intent to kill the victim, Ms. Hutchins.

He’s an actor; he would have tried to generate exactly that intent in order to make his role believable.

One thing nobody is mentioning is that one of the victims is still alive, and likely will have a interesting story to tell us.

    Patricia in reply to henrybowman. | October 23, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Yes, for sure. One thing to remember is that prop guns follow a protocol instituted after Brandon lee’s death. The union enforces it with production. And it’s done safely multiple times a week, safely for 28 years. There are shows that use CGI instead, and maybe that will become the norm but people in the biz get obsessed with their craft. CGI doesn’t look as realistic, but I never notice when I’m watching a silly TV cop drama!

      ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to Patricia. | October 23, 2021 at 2:19 pm

      It was not a “prop gun”. It was a real gun used as a prop. They could have, very easily, used prop guns … but they didn’t.

      And Baldwin has done enough action scenes that he can’t claim ignorance – on top of the fact that he is a very vocal anti-2nd amendment advocate and has acted as if he knew lots of things about guns (which he tries to take away from law-abiding citizens, illegally). The only person really responsible, in the end, is the person holding the real gun and pulling the trigger while it’s pointed at someone.

      Colonel Travis in reply to Patricia. | October 23, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      I notice lame gun stuff in TV/movies and it bothers me!
      So do horrible Southern accents.

    Had to be a few witnesses as well, but I think while it will cost Alec millions that is the worse he will feel from this.

A lot of states have “film offices” to entice production away from CA to their state. I wonder if there are strong enough regulations to protect the local people who are hired as crew and extras.

    Patricia in reply to Liz. | October 23, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    It’s my understanding that the unions have their protocol and enforce it, and in CA that’s also in the law. Other states, who knows, but the union guys walked out that morning because their standards were not being upheld.

ugottabekiddinme | October 23, 2021 at 4:07 pm

Baldwin supposedly demanded “why was I handed a hot gun?”

Well, a report in the Daily Mail states that for the armorer in charge on this set, it was only the second time in her career that she was the top armorer, and she said that she had felt some concern as to whether she was “ready” when asked to take this job. One would think, if true, that relative inexperience would make one doubly careful, but it also sounds like the set was rather chaotic.

If there are criminal charges, I’d think only Baldwin would be charged for his reckless behavior, but as for civil liability, I think he and a number of others will all be defendants in the wrongful death and personal injury cases.

    Colonel Travis in reply to ugottabekiddinme. | October 23, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    If you are handed a gun, shoot two people and then wonder what the heck happened, you should not be handling firearms in the first place.

    I’m all for punishing those behind Baldwin if they were truly negligent. But that gun wasn’t in anyone’s hands but his. You don’t fool around with weapons, even ones that are supposed to be “pretend” because this is the kind of shit that happens with that lax attitude. Either you are safe all the time or you’re not.

    ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to ugottabekiddinme. | October 23, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Why would she even have access to live rounds? There shouldn’t have been any live rounds anywhere around the set, at all. Armed security guards, if they had any, should have not had any of their equipment mixing in with anything on the set and there should have been a steadfast rule that no live round are allowed anywhere (so that no one confuses them with blank rounds).

      In movie lingo, a live round can be a blank or bullet, and bullets are not allowed on set. Here in NM on this set? Who knows. Sounds completely out of control.

        ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to Patricia. | October 23, 2021 at 7:22 pm

        it doesn’t sound out of control. It sounds criminal.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Patricia. | October 25, 2021 at 2:07 am

        A “live round” is never a “blank”, and vice versa. Each is the antithesis of the other. Why would you use the same word to describe opposites? If movie types really are using the terminology as you describe, it’s a wonder that more accidents don’t happen! It seems they don’t know what they’re talking about. How can they possibly handle firearms safely if they can’t even refer to things by their unambiguous proper names?

    henrybowman in reply to ugottabekiddinme. | October 23, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    What complicates this terribly is that most of the union armorers walked out on the job, were replaced by non-union, and told if they remained on set they were be bounced by Security… while the relatively-inexperienced woman who actually loaded these guns was a union armorer who preferred to be and was permitted to remain on set to work. It brings up an additional motive of “here’s why you don’t f* with the armorer’s union,” albeit a particularly badly-planned and ultimately self-destructive one.

Paul In Sweden | October 23, 2021 at 5:13 pm

Alec Baldwin should be lynched in the media just like he and his ilk do time and time again to advance their leftist agenda. #BrandonBaldwin!

Baldwin is either a plausible “hero” or a candidate for planned parent/hood.


FortesFortunaJuvat | October 24, 2021 at 7:16 pm

1. Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle point at anything that you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you have made the decision to shoot.
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
1. He failed at rule 1.
2. He failed at rule 2.
3. He failed at rule 3.
4. He failed at rule 4.

By every standard which others are held to account, baldwin was negligent, at best.

    When I was 18 years old, a very wise Army master sergeant told me something I remember to this day:

    “Thiac, the loudest noise you will ever hear is the should of an ‘unloaded’ firearm going off. All weapons are always loaded.”

    That being said, I’ll give Mr. Baldwin the benefit of the doubt and say let the investigation conclude, and let him be judged then.

      The loudest sound is a supposedly unloaded gun going off right behind you while you’re berating the first two idiots who shot the clearing barrel for shooting the clearing barrel.
      – The Division SgtMaj in Tuzla

Very nice analysis, Andrew. Thanks.
One thing you didn’t address, however: in conjunction with Baldwin’s culpability, what about others in the chain of custody of the weapon?

Can they be held civilly or criminally liable together or separately? Is using prop guns for actual live-fire shooting (in-between scenes/days of shooting) a “reckless” act, particularly for the armorer?

Lastly, should we ever consider an actor to be a “reasonable man” under the law?
(OK, that one is kind of a joke.)

In point of fact, all firearms are not always considered loaded. If that were absolutely true, as some claim here, you could never disassemble or clean a firearm, because it’s always loaded, even when it’s just been cleared!
My point is that under some circumstances, a firearm is considered unloaded. One of those situations is when you’re in a workplace where someone is paid to be responsible for the condition (unloaded) of the weapons in the workplace.
As much as I don’t like Baldwin, he had a reasonable expectation that the gun wasn’t loaded because there was a professional on the scene with the responsibility to make sure that it wasn’t loaded.
If the people in a workplace can’t rely on their paid experts to keep them safe, what is the purpose of paying them if everyone on the set is expected to perform those safety duties themselves? Each expert on a set has responsibilities to which they are expected to attend, and they aren’t expected to attend to responsibilities that aren’t theirs. Soundmen aren’t responsible for makeup. Camera operators aren’t caterers. Actors are not armorers. The movie set is not a home and not a shooting range. On a set, there are rules and regulations in effect that are meant to keep people safe by the actions of personnel dedicated to safety, without everyone acting as safety supervisors. Armorers, riggers, animal handlers, stunt drivers, etc. are trusted to do their jobs. They are responsible for safety within their respective duties, and their employers and co-workers should be able to trust their work.

    henrybowman in reply to DaveGinOly. | October 25, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    If we were gigging Baldwin for not verifying that a gun was loaded with blanks instead of live ammo, I’d be willing to pursue this argument.
    But we are gigging Baldwin for not verifying that a gun was loaded with nothing instead of anything. It’s a simple check, and anyone handling a gun needs to do it.

Ages ago, as a student preacher in a rural area, a fifteen-year-old with a rifle knocked on the church door. He wanted to use the back fence of the church property to rest his rifle while he shot woodchucks in his father’s back pasture (a prize miler can break a leg from stepping in a chuck’s burrow), since his father had given him the job.

He had the rifle on the crook of his arm, pointed away from anyone, with his hand away from the trigger, and the bolt open. My guess is if a farm kid can learn firearm safety at home, it shouldn’t be too hard for others.