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Hollywood firearm expert says Alec Baldwin broke No. 1 rule of gun safety; crew used gun for off-set 'fun,' report says
Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic

Hollywood firearm expert says Alec Baldwin broke No. 1 rule of gun safety; crew used gun for off-set 'fun,' report says

Hollywood firearms expert Bryan Carpenter says that actor Alec Baldwin broke the number one rule of firearm safety, which resulted in the tragic death of an on-set film crew member last week.

What did Carpenter say?

Carpenter, who heads Dark Thirty Film Services, told the New York Post that Baldwin broke the first rule of firearm safety.

"Loaded or unloaded, a weapon never gets pointed at another human being," Carpenter said.

Carpenter — whose company specializes in firearms training, handling, on-set armory, and even firearm fabrication — said that when on a TV or movie set, "you never let the muzzle of a weapon cover something you don't intend to destroy."

Baldwin has said the firearm he discharged, killing 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, was declared "cold" to signify the firearm was safe to handle on set. That does not matter, Carpenter told the Post, because Baldwin "obviously pointed [the firearm] at another human being."

"All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are," Carpenter explained, citing what he told the Post are "Colonel Jeff Cooper's four fundamentals" of firearm safety.

Anything else?

Not only did Baldwin break the No. 1 rule, but the film crew reportedly used the same firearm that was used in Hutchins' tragic death for off-set "fun."

If true, that may explain how a live round was inside Baldwin's prop gun.

TMZ reported:

Multiple sources directly connected to the "Rust" production tell TMZ ... the same gun Alec Baldwin accidentally fired -- hitting the DP and director -- was being used by crews members off set as well, for what we're told amounted to target practice.

We're told this off-the-clock shooting -- which was allegedly happening away from the movie lot -- was being done with real bullets ... which is how some who worked on the film believe a live round found its way in one of the chambers that day.

As Carpenter told the Post, the phrase "prop gun" is slightly misleading. Many film and TV sets use real firearms during filming, loading them with blank rounds, which are identical to normal bullets with one exception: they do not have a projectile, the piece of lead that is expelled from the barrel of a gun when fired.

If the firearm in question was, in fact, being used for target practice off-set, then a live round could have been left in the chamber when given to Baldwin. The only way to confirm the contents of a firearm chamber — whether it is loaded or unloaded — is to visually inspect it, not simply remove the firearm's magazine.

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