The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department said Alec Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer and wounded a director on his latest film, “Rust.”
The weapon, according to law enforcement, was a prop gun that was supposed to contain blanks, Reuters reported.
>>Related: Alec Baldwin fired prop gun that killed 1, wounded another on ‘Rust’ set, officials say
Law enforcement is investigating to find out what happened on the set.
So how can a weapon that is not meant to kill leave one person dead and one wounded?
Usually, there are strict safety protocols when there are guns on a set.
“On the film I recently made, even my plastic gun, I had to sign out, sign in every day,” Rhys Muldoon told BBC News. “So that’s why this particular case is so incredibly baffling.”
“There’s basic safety measures on every set,” Mike Tristano, an armorer in the film industry, told the BBC. “You never point a gun, even if it is not a firing gun, at anyone else. I’m at a loss how this could have happened and how it could have done that much damage.”
“Prop weapons do have a dangerous factor to them, even though they’re a lot safer than using a live firearm on set,” prop master Joseph Fisher told CNN.
>>Related: Alec Baldwin: 8 things to know
Normally, when a gun has to be fired on a set, blanks are used.
BBC News said blanks are modified real rounds, but instead of having a metal bullet in the casing, normally they have either cotton or paper in its place. The end, where the bullet would be, is crimped to hold the powder in the casing, The Wrap reported.
“Typical prop load will be about 25 to 50% of the gunpowder in an actually projectile load that would be used in a regular weapon,” Fisher told CNN.
The Wrap reported that any gun used in production is considered a prop gun.
A prop gun can be a plastic one like Muldoon referenced that doesn’t fire, or a cap gun. Normally, according to the BBC, they are real weapons that have been modified to use blanks.
The modified weapon will give a bang, recoil and flash of light from the muzzle, leading to the authenticity of a production.
The wadding that holds the gunpowder in the cartridge can also be expelled, The Wrap reported.
Sometimes, productions will add extra powder to get more of a blast, BBC News reported.
>>Related: Alec Baldwin shooting: Film industry reacts after 1 killed, 1 hurt on ‘Rust’ set
When a gun is fired, crews wear face masks and goggles, and would be standing behind a safety screen. Crew size is also minimized.
On-set, experts will go over the weapon with the cast and crew to explain the safety precautions before the scene begins, Fisher told CNN.
>>Related: Alec Baldwin shooting: While rare, accidents happen on movie, TV sets; here is a list of some
“We do safety distances. We try to keep the actors slightly misaligned with the weapon, so that if the person firing the weapon is firing straight this way, the other actor in the frame is just slightly off,” Fisher said.
©2021 Cox Media Group