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What is a prop gun? Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ movie set turns deadly

Oct 22, 2021

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All eyes are on actor Alec Baldwin after authorities say he shot and killed a cinematographer, and injured another crew member on a Sante Fe, New Mexico movie set Thursday. Baldwin was using a prop gun during the filming of a scene of the western film ‘Rust’. Authorities say cinematographer Haylna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured.

On Friday morning, Baldwin sent out a series of tweets to offer condolences to Hutchins’s family.

https://twitter.com/AlecBaldwin/status/1451572461787439106?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1451572461787439106%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2Fentertainment%2Flive-news%2Falec-baldwin-movie-set-shooting-10-22-21%2Findex.html

He also offered his full cooperation with local authorities.

https://twitter.com/AlecBaldwin/status/1451573351588106246?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1451573351588106246%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2Fentertainment%2Flive-news%2Falec-baldwin-movie-set-shooting-10-22-21%2Findex.html

While this is not the first movie incident involving a prop gun death, the tragic incident has many asking, how did a prop gun turn deadly?

A big misconception is that prop guns are not real guns. The term can refer to a weapon that is no longer functional or even a child’s toy gun, the term also encompasses a real gun used as a prop.

The only difference between a prop gun and a real one is its use on a movie set. The use of bullets inside a chamber of a prop gun are blanks and do not have a bullet, but still give off the impression of a shot being fired.

The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

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JIMMIE JOHNSON: WHEN YOU HEAR “PROP GUN”…

THIS IS NOT WHAT COMES TO MIND.

KAYLA MAMELAK: “A prop director was killed after Alec Baldwin fired off a gun.”

JIMMIE: SO, HOW DID A PROP GUN TURN DEADLY ON THE NEW MEXICO SET OF ALEC BALDWIN’S FILM, RUST?

FOR STARTERS, AS INNOCENT AS IT SOUNDS, MOST PROP GUNS USED IN MOVIES ARE NOT TOYS.

THEY ARE REAL GUNS USED AS PROPS. WHAT MAKES IT A PROP? PRIMARILY, INSTEAD OF REAL BULLETS, BLANKS ARE USED TO MAKE IT LOOK AND SOUND LIKE REAL GUNFIRE.

HERE’S WHERE IT GETS TRICKY. BLANKS LOOK ALMOST IDENTICAL TO LIVE ROUNDS.

IT’S THE SAME TYPE OF CARTRIDGE AND IT’S ALSO FILLED WITH GUNPOWDER, BUT A LIVE ROUND HAS A PROJECTILE AT THE TOP OF THE SHELL, THE BULLET. A BLANK DOES NOT. SO WHILE A BLANK CAN LOOK AND SOUND LIKE LIVE-FIRE, IT’S NOT AS DANGEROUS BECAUSE THERE’S NO PROJECTILE FIRING OUT.

STILL, IT’S FAR FROM BEING PERFECTLY SAFE.

MIKE YARDLEY: “Now blanks can be dangerous, can be improperly loaded…if something got improperly loaded in the gun, that can be a projectile with the blank behind it.”

JIMMIE: THE EXPLOSIVENESS OF A BLANK CAN SOMETIMES SEND GUNPOWDER FROM THE CARTRIDGE  SHOOTING OUT OF THE GUN. AND AT CLOSE RANGE, THAT COULD BE DEADLY.

IS THAT WHAT HAPPENED IN NEW MEXICO? IT’S TOO SOON TO TELL.

BUT THERE’S NO QUESTION, PROP GUNS ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS.


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