Movie Armament Expert: Alec Baldwin, Armorer Share Blame For Shooting Death

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,
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USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Richard Collins owns more than 1,000 machine guns and 4,000 other firearms. He stores his massive collection in two safes. Each is 1,000 square feet – the doors weigh 5,000 pounds.

Collins is president of Movie Armaments Group. Founded 40 years ago, MAG supplies guns, tactical gear, uniforms, military equipment, and lashings of expertise to the film industry. All of his armorers are veterans of elite police and/or military units.

Some of the films he’s worked on include: “Suicide Squad,” “Total Recall,” “Robocop,” and “xXx,” with Vin Diesel.

Collins’ team does much more than supply guns.

“If a stunt guy knocks a gun out of someone’s hand, we made the gun out of latex. It has the consistency of a soft rubber sponge, not hard rubber,” he said Tuesday. “We build soft-rubber fire extinguishers, pipes if someone is going to be hit with a pipe. We have five fulltime artists and 3D printers. We make molds and build stuff too.”

His business is booming, especially after Netflix and Amazon began producing their own movies.

“We’re based in Toronto, which they call ‘Hollywood North.’ We have major studios here, and the Canadian dollar is cheaper – 25% cheaper than Hollywood. You’ll get a bigger bang for your buck,” he said. “Hollywood directors and producers come up here and are shocked at how much depth of film-production talent is here. We can do everything Hollywood can do, except for less money.”

Few people know more about gun safety protocols on a movie set than Collins, who’s been in the film industry for more than 40 years. An experienced armorer himself, Collins was troubled by the news stories he read about the recent shooting death on the set of Alec Baldwin’s low-budget film, “Rust,” which left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and director Joel Souza wounded.

“The information I’m getting is third-hand, mostly stories I’ve read in the press,” he said. “They don’t seem to understand what they’re reporting and they’re screwing it up. You have to be wary about whether what they’re saying actually happened.”

Collins reached out to the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project to set the record straight.

“Everything that was done there is against protocols,” Collins said. “There is no law that governs what armorers do on set, but there are safety protocols set by the film union.”

Anyone working with firearms onset is required to read the safety rules, Collins explained, and the producers and directors have to be aware of the rules.

“The number one rule is no live ammunition can come to the set – period,” he said. “The second rule is that firearms used for live fire are never brought to the set. We have firearms dedicated to blank fire.”

Ultimately, the armorer is responsible for safety when firearms are used, which on the “Rust” set was the responsibility of 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez Reed.

“In this case the armorer was a young girl and she didn’t know how to put her foot down,” Collins said. “No one should touch guns but the armorer.”

Armorers are required to keep all firearms in their “custody and control” at all times. Crew members or others not working with the guns are not allowed to touch them. If the armorer needs to go to the bathroom or take a break, they’re supposed to contact another armorer to relieve them. In this case, Collins said, since it was a low-budget film, Reed was the only armorer on set, so she should have asked someone from the props department to look after the guns so no one handled them if she needed a break.

Alec Baldwin’s fatal shooting occurred during a “cold gun” scene involving a real firearm, which has its own safety protocols.

Reed should have cleared the revolver herself to ensure it was not loaded. Then, she should have cleared or “proofed” the weapon for the assistant director. Then, she should have proofed the weapon for the “talent,” in this case Baldwin. After acknowledging the gun was clear, only then should Baldwin have accepted the gun from her.

“None of that was done with Baldwin,” Collins said. “He’s been on gun movies before. He knows the procedures. You don’t accept the gun from the assistant director, which was done here. You accept the gun only from the armorer.”

Clearing a single-action revolver like the one Baldwin used is a tedious process.

“You open the gate. The gun is on half-cock. You check each chamber – you check seven chambers to make sure you didn’t miss one. Then, you bring back the hammer and drop the hammer seven times, and then you do the same for the actor before you hand it to them,” Collins said. “The talent has got to see that. They’ve got to know you’re safe. Lots of talent are afraid of firearms. You have to hold their hand a bit and keep them safe. You have to overdo it. When an armorer does everything they’re supposed to, the gun’s empty. Everyone’s checked it. We all know it’s safe. There’s no problem. We can relax. Everyone’s always in a hurry on set. They’re always behind schedule. They will try to rush you. You can’t allow that.”

During the “Rust” production, the armorer Reed was not allowed on set because of COVID-19 regulations.

“That’s bullshit if that’s true,” Collins said. “She screwed up and didn’t hand the gun to the talent because she wasn’t allowed to be there. There’s a cardinal rule: The armorer is responsible to clear the gun, clear it again, go to the talent and clear it again. That rule is never broken.”

Collins just learned that someone may have used the revolver for after-hours plinking offset, which is never allowed.

“Nobody ever does that. There’s no live ammo allowed on set. Someone was shooting live rounds, didn’t clear it and brought it back to the set. This is insane. No one is allowed to take a gun that’s been shooting live ammo and bring it back to the set,” Collins said. “These are ironclad rules. Every armorer I’ve spoken to is in shock. What were they thinking? What were they doing?”

Dummy Rounds

When the camera focuses tightly on a revolver, you can see the cylinder is empty, so armorers will use dummy rounds that look like real bullets, Collins explained.

Hollywood dummy rounds each contain a small ball bearing, and they have their own safety protocol.

“If a firearm is supposed to be loaded with dummy rounds, my armorers are trained to take each round and shake it to hear the ball bearing rattle. They will go through every round and demonstrate to the talent that they can’t be real because real rounds don’t rattle,” Collins said. “These rounds have been around for a few years and they’re a fantastic solution.”

As a result, if the safety protocol was followed, there is no way a live round could be mistaken for a dummy round.

No Training

Depending upon a film’s budget, Collins’ firm may be hired to provide firearm training to the actors.

“We will do safety training with them first, and get them used to the guns. It’s very hard to act like a professional killer if you’re afraid of the gun, so we train them. We have curriculum, depending upon how much they need to know. In this case, the big problem is that the movie was extremely low budget, so they didn’t want to pay for training or even a second armorer.” Collins said. “I heard one of the other major armorers said he was asked to take the contract but he said no. Because of the extremely low budget he refused to accept the job. They were not following the protocols.”

Blame

On the “Rust” set, there is a lot of blame to go around.

“As far as the blame goes, the armorer is the number one person to blame,” Collins said.

“Baldwin would have known you don’t take a gun without it being cleared by an armorer. He’s responsible as a producer.

Producers know no one accepts a gun without the armorer proofing it first. I can’t believe this happened. Who would do this? Protocols are not complicated. You’re supposed to follow them and never break them.”

Like after any shooting, Collins suspects anti-gunners will use this death as an opportunity to call for more gun bans.

“They want to ban real firearms from film sets and replace them with Airsoft,” he said. “They want to put me out of business.”

This story is presented by the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and wouldn’t be possible without you. Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support more pro-gun stories like this.


About Lee Williams

Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.

Lee Williams

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Chuck
Chuck
22 days ago

Baldwin, Halls, and Reed are all guilty of Criminal Negligence. Ms. Reed, obviously has zilch for credentials other than she’s the daughter of armorer Thell Reed. When I read her “spun the cylinder” statement, that told me all I needed to know. She needs to find a different career. Any Safety Officer would have pulled the plug on this production. There was also No Reason whatsoever for a fully functional pistol to even be allowed near the set. Plenty of blank firing only SAA’s available as they have been used for over 70 years. Ms. Reed doesn’t know WTF she’s… Read more »

Cam
Cam
22 days ago

Baldwin is 100% culpable. Industry standard is to not point guns at people. He broke movie industry standard and pointed and pulled the trigger.

PAF145
PAF145
22 days ago

Just another clown trying to cover for Baldwin–probly hoping for some business

Russn8r
Russn8r
22 days ago
Reply to  PAF145

Yep. Some real horseS, especially coming from SAF.

Bill
Bill
22 days ago

The most important safety device on any firearm is what’s between the ears of the person handling the gun!

Russn8r
Russn8r
22 days ago
Reply to  Bill

“absolutely right. What’s between Baldwin’s ears is always out to lunch. Charge his ass with murder!” -WillTEX

Another ironic suck-up attempt. Even a poopy-mouth thug ex-enforcer should know you can’t charge him with murder here. Manslaughter yes, murder no.

3l120
3l120
22 days ago
Reply to  Russn8r

Not sure why the down votes, but as a former big city cop, this would be manslaughter,mor possibly ADW. I don’t like it but that is the truth of it. He would never be brought up on Murder charges.

Russn8r
Russn8r
22 days ago
Reply to  3l120

Yep. WillTEX is emotional, butthurt, room-temp IQ, with a couple rosie palms full of sock puppets. Hence the DVs. It’s amusing.

Last edited 22 days ago by Russn8r
Chuck
Chuck
22 days ago

“As far as the blame goes, the armorer is the number one person to blame,” Collins said.” No, she is not. Baldwin owns this and any attempt to spread the responsibility is gamesmanship. As for the armorer, it appears she may be considered young, inexperienced, and not sufficiently forceful or strong willed, which, as has been previously suggested, may be why she was hired. There are a number of issues to be investigated and discussed, however the ball falls back on management. If (supposedly) older, more experienced, wiser management placed this person in a no-win situation, which I have seen… Read more »

Don
Don
22 days ago

Did the scene call for ammunition to be visible to the camera? Was there supposed to be dummy rounds in the gun? Since the scene was set up with Baldwin aiming at the camera, why would Baldwin think things were amiss? The AD Hall presented Baldwin with a gun that appeared to have dummies. Many dummies are made by the armorer from live ammo. They pull the bullet, dump out the powder and re-seat the bullet. Unlike commercial dummies there is no hole drilled into the case and primer. This is what led to Brandon Lee getting killed. A primer… Read more »

3l120
3l120
22 days ago
Reply to  Don

This was a rehearsal, and why he actually pointed the pistol at her is unknown. Maybe he was passed at her because some staff had quit, maybe his wife was passed at him and he fantasized about killing her. Doesn’t matter, he aimed at her and pulled the trigger. Nothing else is important.
.

Russn8r
Russn8r
22 days ago
Reply to  Don

Why persist in ridiculous Baldwin excuses? His own union’s rules include:

“Check the firearm every time you take possession. Before each use, make sure the gun has been test-fired off stage then ask to test fire it yourself. Watch the prop master check cylinders & barrel to be sure no foreign object or dummy bullet is lodged inside.”

https://www.actorsequity.org/resources/Producers/safe-and-sanitary/safety-tips-for-use-of-firearms/

You don’t know what’ll happen in civil ct or how many layers of corporate/LLC limited liability & asset protection he can hide behind.

Justice = criminal conviction, which makes the civil suit easier.

Last edited 22 days ago by Russn8r
CaptainKerosene
CaptainKerosene
22 days ago

Hanna Guterreze-Reed had a title but no authority. She wasn’t on the set for hours when the death happened. That all goes against Baldwin.
Except for first generation 1873 Colt’s the cylinder can be completely removed from the frame in seconds ( a spring loaded catch replaced a screw )
BTW. The guy who handed Baldwin called the cylinder the drum. Zero knowledge.

Wass
Wass
22 days ago

Aside from all the gun safety rules ignored by personnel and the fact that nobody on the movie set knew jack about firearms, including the so called armorer, there is within this tragedy a serious disconnect; A true “prop gun”, is not a firearm, as defined by ATF&E. Prop guns simulate real guns in appearance and function, but are designed only to accept specialized blank cartridges. They cannot be loaded with standard (live) ammunition. No bullets leave the muzzle, although being very close to the muzzle blast can be dangerous, Standard firearms could, in most cases,be loaded with blank ammunition,… Read more »

Last edited 22 days ago by Wass
CaptainKerosene
CaptainKerosene
22 days ago
Reply to  Wass

She knows about firearms but management would not allow her the authority to do the job.

Last edited 22 days ago by CaptainKerosene
3l120
3l120
22 days ago

I get the impression that Killer Baldwin was upset about some of the staff quitting and blamed the victim for that.

JPM
JPM
22 days ago

At the very least Baldwin is guilty of negligent homicide and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, given the widespread political corruption that is New Mexico, I’m betting once the Santa Fag sheriff, D.A. and and judges get their “Mordita” (little bite/bribe) from Baldwin’s people, he’ll walk with a fine and community service.

CaptainKerosene
CaptainKerosene
22 days ago
Reply to  JPM

If he is convicted of crime, when if he only pays a fine and probation he’ll have to go to another country to even touch a gun for a movie.

Russn8r
Russn8r
22 days ago

$100 says they never even drug tested the s0n of a b!tch and he was loaded with various prescription psych drugs & illegal stuff too.

Montana454Casull
Montana454Casull
22 days ago

So many protocols ignored and the first rule of gun safety is always point the muzzle in a safe direction and never pull the trigger unless you are sure of your target and beyond . Alway treat every gun as if its loaded. Never trust others , alway check it yourself as ultimately the one who pulls the trigger is responsible for the negligence when someone gets hurt or killed . Alec Baldwin as the producer should have confirmed the gun was cold before pulling the trigger, he is responsible for his actions of pointing the gun and pulling the… Read more »

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
23 days ago

Rule number 1; ALL guns ARE LOADED. When you forget that bad things happen. You never hand someone a firearm without showing it clear, free of ammo. You never accept possession of a firearm without CHECKING IT FOR AMMO YOURSELF. Mistakes happen when rules are lax. In this case the mistake cost the life of an innocent woman and the maiming of another man. Accident? We just don’t know that yet. We could be looking at a murder and attempted murder. We may be looking at a patsy, two patseys taking the blame for someone’s ill will. Still, Baldwin and… Read more »

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
23 days ago

I know of the armors fathers success and have seen him perform his fancy gun handling skills however those skills have seemed to elude her.

I predict her career as a armor are and should be at a end.

CaptainKerosene
CaptainKerosene
22 days ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy

Nonsense. She was hired because as a young female she could be ignored.
Baldwin’s budget overruled everything.

JimmyS
JimmyS
22 days ago

Have you met millennial women? Good luck ignoring them, you bigoted, racist, homophobic misogynist. What a deluded mind too many of you old fucks have.

Russn8r
Russn8r
22 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

His point doesn’t indicate racism or misogyny, unless it’s Alec’s racism & misogyny. Do you hate older folks?

Last edited 22 days ago by Russn8r
3l120
3l120
22 days ago
Reply to  JimmyS

Hey, AH…I am an old guy and seen a bit more of life than you. Go back to your basement and think about your woke mind and what it says.

Russn8r
Russn8r
22 days ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy

Maybe, but she’s a scapegoat to take heat off ARREC BARRWIN, the clown who puts the laughter in manslaughter.

Last edited 22 days ago by Russn8r
Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
23 days ago

Everyone I chat up on social media says the judge ought to throw the book at Baldwin, maximum sentence. I can’t disagree!

Guns Dont Kill Baldwin Does.png
WI Patriot
WI Patriot
23 days ago

baldwin had posession of the gun, baldwin pointed the gun in an unsafe direction, baldwin pulled the trigger, baldwin committed involuntary manslaughter…baldwin, and nobody else, is wholly responsible for his actions

Arizona
Arizona
23 days ago
Reply to  WI Patriot

Baldwin is guilty of murder, simple as that. He knew better, didn’t follow procedures and didn’t clear the firearm himself. No matter what, the person holding the firearm is responsible for clearing it, and owns every round that goes downrange. Will the cops arrest him and courts prosecute him? Doubt it. Even if they do, he will be found not guilty by the corrupt system, we already know this, it is a given.

3l120
3l120
22 days ago
Reply to  Arizona

Well, he threatened to do that if Trump was elected, so maybe they s it the time to do so.

Tionico
Tionico
22 days ago
Reply to  WI Patriot

“murder” involved a deliberate and wilfull killing of another for no good cause. The clown driving his car way too fast and losing ocntorl, hitting another car, or pedestrian, and killing someone is not murder. Yes, he is culpable, as it was HIS careless action led directly to the death. SUch deaths are called manslaughter… you killed someone yuo should not have, because you were careless, not because yuo deliberately set outto kill that individual. On eht other hand, when the clown rented a Home Depot truck and deliberately dorve it down a bike path and killd some people tha… Read more »

3l120
3l120
22 days ago
Reply to  Tionico

No, Murder S involves no prior intent. Are we sure about Baldwin’s state of mind? I doubt he was tested for drugs or alcohol. He is known for his temper and his alcohol usage!

Russn8r
Russn8r
21 days ago
Reply to  3l120

Per some online analysis, seems Alec would have to be intentionally negligent, reckless or demonstrating depraved indifference to rise to a form of murder in some jurisdictions, even if he didn’t intent to kill her. “When failure to act is reckless or negligent, and not intentional, it is usually manslaughter. If the omission is intentional & death is likely or substantially likely to result, the offense might be murder.” (I figure ‘omission’ = ‘negligence’ here, but it’s unclear.) “Criminally negligent manslaughter. In some U.S. jurisdictions: If so reckless as to ‘manifest extreme indifference to human life’… may be guilty of… Read more »

JimmyS
JimmyS
22 days ago
Reply to  WI Patriot

It wasn’t involuntary. It was negligent. There is a serious distinction in the law. He still didn’t necessarily intend harm, but knowing the likelihood of harm, he failed to act to mitigate that likelihood, and then killed someone. That is negligence at a minimum, and denotes an enhanced felony over a manslaughter charge.