Gun Safety On Set Reiterated In Wake Of Baldwin Shooting

In October a horrible incident took place in which noted actor Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged a prop gun that had live rounds on the set of the movie “Rust,” killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. 

This tragic incident has gotten people to start debating about gun safety on movie sets again, with people comparing it to Brandon Lee’s accidental shooting on the set of “The Crow,” which led to his death. 

The concern over prop guns and gun safety on sets have also been apparent at Oklahoma City Community College’s film program, as well as Prairie Surf Media, a local media company based out of Oklahoma. 

Hagan Hunter, a former US marine and set worker for Prairie Surf, often helps with prop guns on set due to his experience from being a soldier. 

“At Prairie Surf the safety of productions and our staff is paramount, and we take an active role to ensure safe working conditions are maintained in our studio.” Hunter said. 

Hunter further explained that all uses of firearms or firearms like devices require a safety meeting to be conducted with every member of the production or visitors that will be on set for that production day. 

He noted that safety meetings can be conducted in groups or individually, but they must be conducted with all people prior to any rehearsals, filming, or general handling of weapons by people. 

Hunter’s views on gun safety haven’t changed with the accidental shooting in “Rust,” and that Prairie Surf Media employs multiple United States Infantry Marines. Many of their stage managers are veterans. 

“I have heard of the other major ones from years past, but prop gun accidents are not typically commonplace on sets, due to generally standardized gun safety practices most productions utilize.” Hunter said.  

Hagan Hunter (Courtesy Photo).

His personal rules with gun safety includes the rule to “treat every weapon as if it were loaded.” He finds that it is most applicable to almost every situation, but it has limitations. 

“I would not clean my weapon if it were loaded, and if I am to always treat it as if it were loaded then I have created a stalemate for myself. I think my personal rule that all should be aware of and adopt is to always personally verify the condition of the weapon you are handling.” Hunter said. 

He further noted that he would never accept nor pass off to someone else any other type of firearm without ensuring that he’s personally aware of the weapon’s condition. He would encourage people accepting firearms to verify the condition of the weapons themselves.

Hunter said that he follows the “12 Golden Rules of Gun Safety,” and that he had lived them during his career as a Marine, still doing so to this day. 

“I have from time to time in my life been in possession of firearms and have always followed proper gun handling safety rules for the storage or use of each weapon.” Hunter said