Mandatory Training Bill the Wrong Answer to Movie Set Shootings

Gun owners high-fiving Sen. Pirtle’s bill makes as much sense as an actor who makes Westerns protesting horse-drawn carriages with PETA. (David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

U.S.A. – -( ‘Rust’ shooting prompts bill requiring actors to take gun safety training,” NM Political Report observes.

The bill is the “brainchild” of State Senator Cliff Pirtle, a Roswell Republican who claims he was “heartbroken” by the killing and wants to mandate actors and personnel who handle firearms on movie sets take a Department of Game and Fish gun safety course.

Gun owners cheering this on, who think this serves anti-gun Hollywood hypocrites right and gives them a taste of their own medicine, aren’t looking at the dangers the bill poses to them, and not just in New Mexico. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, let’s look at “Republican” Cliff Pirtle.

The American Conservative Union shows a downward trend in his ratings since 2014 and gives him a “62” for 2020, with a lifetime average of “78.01.” If this were a report card, he’d be considered a pretty mediocre student.

Ballotpedia says “Pirtle is a member of the NRA and Safari Club International,” and his campaign website shows the “Fudd” is strong in this one:

Gun Rights and Hunting

Every Law Abiding citizen of NM has the right to own and use firearms for sport, leisure, and occasionally for self-defense. I will insure that we retain these essential rights so that future generations will also be able to enjoy hunting, and the right to uninhibited gun ownership. The right to self-defense is crucial in today’s changing world and I will push to protect those who as a last resort use firearms to protect themselves and their families when their lives are in danger.

Hunting is an American Tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. Hunting teaches responsibility and love for God’s creatures and the sacrifice they make so we can sustain life. I am an avid hunter and I want to insure my children also have the same opportunity to hunt, fish, and learn responsibility through game management.  I will push to make hunting a constitutional right in NM for all of its citizens.

That shallow understanding of the Second Amendment and where rights come from is why letting this guy tamper with them is so dangerous. It also shows Pirtle is oblivious to the core Militia purpose behind Founding intent. Absolutely it’s an individual right, but one also designed to unify patriots and deter the tyranny of a violent monopoly through the most effective power-sharing arrangement yet devised. And it sure ain’t about duck hunting, although that should be protected too.

First, you don’t legislate on feelings, whether you’re “heartbroken” or not, and in this case, Pirtle using that adjective seems more like insincere hyperbole meant for media consumption than anything else. “Heartbroken,” as anyone who ever has been knows, is up close and personal. I’d be surprised if the reaction of most gun owner advocates on hearing the news of Alec Baldwin negligently blasting crew members on set wasn’t more along the lines of “What a dumba…”

This is a “solution” in search of a problem. With Jon-Erik Hexum in 1984 and Brandon Lee in 1993, this is the third highly-publicized on-set gunshot fatality in almost 40 years, and while all were inexcusably and bone-headedly preventable, we’re hardly talking “gundemic” here, or even a trend.

If this is all it takes to pass a law that people have to obey – or else – then be prepared for the antis to do what they always do: Take the “gimme” and use it as a step to the next infringement. If “safety training” can be imposed on an industry with a death rate that is this close to being statistically insignificant, how much easier does it make it for those demanding safety training for all, who can point to 1,260 “unintentional firearm deaths” for the general public in 10 years, and get plenty of publicity profiling parents and family who truly are heartbroken?

And not to dismiss the importance of qualified safety training followed by competent gun-handling skills, but it’s no panacea against negligence as the original “Only One” demonstrated to a classroom full of school children by shooting himself in the leg. Plenty more cops do it than we realize:

“According to an analysis done by the Associated Press in 2019, there have been at least 1,422 unintentional weapons discharges across 258 law-enforcement agencies since 2012. Those numbers, likely higher than some might expect, are not comprehensive and do not represent every single case of accidentally discharged weapons by the police in the United States.”

True, there’s a definite attraction to thinking over-privileged anti-gun Hollywood types might get deserved comeuppances and be “hoist with [their] own petard,” but what the government can do to one set of citizens it can do to others. Encouraging and empowering it to enact more citizen disarmament of any kind is dangerously and ignorantly self-defeating. There is nothing Pirtle’s stupid government mandate will do that private tailored insurance policies and lawsuits for unsafe practice damages can’t do better, and the strongest incentive for minimizing such liabilities is what Hollywood producers value more than anything: Money.

Sen. Pirtle’s kneejerk ploy for media attention bolsters the fraudulent concept that “gun control” works, which it doesn’t, and further supports the argument that prior restraints on rights are acceptable instead of unconstitutional and unamerican. That road leads to all kinds of tyranny, and it’s why the Founders considered “shall not be infringed” the end of the discussion after “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

If anyone needs training, it’s him.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea

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I would think it would be to the benefit of the insurance companies who provide insurance for these movies to take action on their own to make certain that actors who will be handling firearms are properly trained in safety procedures and the proper use of firearms!

Last edited 11 months ago by Bill

BOOM!!! A tenring shot. Let the industry self-govern and doing it through the insurance aspect of it makes the most sense. This is NOT a public problem, at least no more than the ganbangers in Forget it Jake its ChiTown and their random use of firerams to hurt and kill. The film industry has its own set of parameters that do not affect the rst of us. Let THEM firure it out. Armourers need to be competent, this one was not. SHe allowed things like the gun in question to be taken off set and used for plinking, then FAILED… Read more »


This brainless “actor” KILLED a Human Being and wounded another Human Being by BREAKING LAWS! He MUST BE PUNISHED, even though he is inept!

Wild Bill

Yes, and you note that his lawyer got him out of the state fast.


I like that “the Fudd is strong in this one”. Applies to a few others as well.


Yet another useless piece of legislation from a “politician” who apparently can’t find his ass with both hands. Guess he’s not paid to think but just react.


every single case of accidentally discharged weapons by the police in the United States.” not to mention the numger of times some lae enforcement dewwb was careless/stupid enough to let their own issued weapon fall into the hands of someone who not only should not have had it, but then used it to the great harm of another. (remembering a yong mown killed on a pier in San Francisco because a Fed agent left a duty weapon in an unlocked car, which was then “liberate” and ended up in the hands of an illegal foreign invader who had been deported… Read more »

Wild Bill

My favorite was the FBI agent doing his acrobatic dance routine on the dance floor, when his issue weapon fell out and discharged.


Absolutely excellent article ! Definitely one of the most profound writers for Ammoland and someone who truly understands the purpose of the Second Amendment and the vision of the Founding Fathers !


Correct. Mandatory Hubris Training is the answer. Those who think they are above law will disregard all manner of considerations for others. That is the case here. We on the conservative side of the culture live in a world of Always and Never. Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction. Never point your firearm at anything you do not intend to destroy. The fuzzy thinking of the American Progressive New Left blurs those distinctions.. Case in point in the tragedy in New Mexico.


That’s just what this country needs……another politician (R or D) with another law rather someone having a smidgen of real common sense, personal responsibility, and accountability……and maybe a NRA Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Certificate. -Treat every gun as though loaded….with real live ammo. -Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. -Never put your finger on the trigger until on intended target and ready to shoot. -Be sure of what is beyond your intended target. -And, a bonus for Ole Alec…….YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DAMAGE INFLICTED BY EACH AND EVERY BULLET YOU PUT IN MOTION… Read more »


They say you can’t legislate morality or most of the rest of the stuff on your list either. You can legislate responsibility, but only after the fact when the damage has been done. At this point all we can o is wait to see if the powers that be hold Baldwin responsible for being what Red RForman would call a “dumbass.”

Good post BTW.

Henry Bowman

While I’m generally opposed to mandatory ANYTHING relating to gun rights, maybe there OUGHT to be a law that says;
“If you’re an antigun commietard actor, you MUST be required to pass a basic gun use course before you’re allowed to even touch a gun”!

It’s either ban leftists from touching a gun (even fakes), or (better yet) simply BAN LEFTISTS.


Ban Hypocrisy. Ban DemComs & their serfs from owning guns! They do 99% of the violent crime, criminals NEVER disobey gun laws, so it’d cut “gun crimes” by 99%!

Last edited 11 months ago by Russn8r

Gun safety training is okay, and probably for everyone. However, the only preventative against tragedies, such as we’ve experienced on the movie set with Alec Baldwin, is federal legislation mandating cinematic and theatrical sets only to use prop guns in violent depictions. Precisely, prop guns, while visually and acoustically simulate real firearms, they cannot be loaded with real ballistic ammunition. There are lots of sources for these products. One that comes to mind, advertises in the back of gun publications and is located in Coconut Creek, Florida.


That wasn’t the case on the Baldwin issue at the “Rust” site.


At the “Rust” filming, real guns, such as the .45 Long Colt single action revolver were present. Most Hollywood types wouldn’t know the difference between a live round cartridge and a blank cartridge. A real ballistic cartridge was loaded into Baldwin’s gun, when a blank should have been loaded.Prop guns can only be loaded with specialized blank cartridges. That’s not to say, they’re not dangerous; they are indeed at very close range, but they don’t shoot bullets and the ATF&E do not define them as firearms.

Last edited 11 months ago by Wass
Henry Bowman

You said, “Most Hollywood types wouldn’t know the difference between a live round cartridge and a blank cartridge.” …And apparently, that extends to “Hollywood types” who are supposed to know the difference between prop guns and real guns, such as the overwhelmed girl who was supposed to be the film’s armorer. Everyone in this high-profile incident is playing ‘pass the buck’ rather than state the truth: In all likelihood, EVERYONE dropped the ball that day, at every step of the way, failing to ascertain/verify the state of the gun (real vs prop), the state of the ammunition (real vs blank),… Read more »


If my suggestion were implemented, “Hollywood types” or other snowflakes wouldn’t have to know the difference between a live round and a blank cartridge.


What, exactly, is your suggestion?


Jesus Christo, we don’t need any more stinkin federal gun legislation.


Training is a good idea for people to decide to get.

Are you recommending more federal legislation regarding firearms?

Wild Bill

Hmmm, more federal legislation? I’m thinking that Congress will not be able to resist getting more restrictions, controls, and requirements in such a bill, than just for cinematic and theatrical persons. Are you sure Congress wouldn’t f___ it up? I could be wrong.


I thought these problems were solved a long time ago when they just hung those that committed murder, rape and other types of these heinous crimes? Then again, playing the “OOPS Card” in front of a jury would establish reasonable doubt, wouldn’t it?


Don’t worry Baldwin will get off Scott Free as he will be protected by the Hollywood Elite will protect one of their own and continue to pilfer the anti-gun movement!!!!!!


Interesting animation of an allegation of what happened – see video about half way down the article.