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Film professor talks gun safety after shooting in Santa Fe

Gun safety
Posted at 5:36 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 20:39:46-04

PHOENIX — There's not a lot of rules when it comes to using guns on film sets. However, that could change after an actor fired a live round killed a cinematographer in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Halyna Hutchins was working on the set of Rust when she was killed by a gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin.

"People should never die making movies," said Chris LaMont, a movie producer teaching at Arizona State University.

"Making movies is fun, it's creative, it's passionate," he added.

According to LaMont, film sets shouldn't be using live rounds. "Generally, a lot of films use blanks," said LaMont.

"(It) still gives you the sound of gunfire, it's a muzzle flash, but I think at this point, things are going to be changing really importantly for this industry," he added.

"Everyone is looking at this idea be about there should be no live guns on set at all. There shouldn't be guns shooting blanks...and so it's amazing with the technology today, it's super easy to put a muzzle flash on screen, you can do that with Adobe After Effects -- so even our students can have muzzle flashes in their movies," LaMont said.

ASU students are able to use decommissioned prop guns from Sun Studios in Tempe. Even though they don't fire live rounds, students are supposed to notify law enforcement when using them in a film.

Meanwhile, the state film office said it's adding more information to their website for people interested in using explosives like firearms.

"We are incredibly saddened by the tragic event that happened on the film set “Rust” in New Mexico and our thoughts are with everyone involved during this difficult time," said a spokesperson with the Arizona Commerce Authority."Having said that, following the tragic industry event in New Mexico, we have updated our website and added some additional resources to our webpage, Production FAQs [], regarding use of explosives and firearms," they said.

"As a program of the ACA, Arizona Film & Digital Media does not directly issue permits for film productions in Arizona, nor do we have any direct enforcement authority over productions that film here. We do, however, attract and promote Arizona as a film destination, work to grow the industry's infrastructure, and facilitate production requests when they desire filming here. This includes helping them find Arizona production resources such as crew, talent, and support businesses, and making sure they know where to go to request the necessary permits and legal permissions they may need to film within various jurisdictions statewide," they added.