How are prop guns dangerous? Alec Baldwin incident raises concerns

Firearms experts say it is rare for someone to be killed from a prop gun while filming a movie or TV show.

How are prop guns dangerous? Alec Baldwin incident raises concerns

Firearms experts say it is rare for someone to be killed from a prop gun while filming a movie or TV show as a weapons master or armourer is mandated to be on set to ensure everyone's safety, in addition to providing rigorous training and gun handling to actors beforehand.

New Mexico police said Wednesday that actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of Western film "Rust," killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

Charles Taylor, head armourer of Movie Armaments Group Canada, called the news "shocking."


"This is not something that you would expect for the amount of safety, and the protocols that we have with all master armours on movie sets," Taylor told CTV News Channel on Friday.

When filming in Canada, Taylor explained that movie crews have to follow "very stringent rules" when using a firearm.

"We have the Canadian Firearms Act that basically states that anybody that handles a firearm on a movie set requires a business firearms license and must be trained to do so," he said.

Taylor said that firearms safety specialists are required to be on set when filming using a gun and must train actors "days or weeks in advance" of filming on how to properly handle a firearm.

After training is complete, Taylor said it is up to the weapons master to decide whether a scene should go ahead.


Alec Baldwin

"It's ultimately our call… whether that actor or person is even capable of handling a firearm and if they're not, we just say, 'No, here's a prop,' and we're not doing any gunfire," he said.

Cameron K. Smith, a motion picture firearms coordinator and consultant based in B.C., said prop guns need to be treated as real firearms when being handled on movie sets.

If not, he says the actor can pose a real threat to themselves, as well as cast and crew.

Smith told in an email Friday that prop guns can "absolutely" be dangerous if the individual handling the firearm is "unfocused, uncertain, or potentially unhinged."

However, he says an injury or death from a prop gun is rare.

"In the hands of a trained and focused actor, working in conjunction with a certified motion picture firearms coordinator, the scenes normally function quite smoothly and very safely," Smith said.

Difference between prop guns and real firearms

Taylor noted that the majority of guns used in films are "real firearms" that have been converted to fire a blank, which is a bullet that has had the projectile removed.

He noted that "prop weapons" or non-functioning weapons are not typically used in TV and movies because they don't look authentic.

While it is unclear what type of gun Baldwin was using on the set of "Rust," Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, told on Friday that the term prop gun could refer to a range of items, from non-functioning weapons to real ones that fire caps or blanks.

Gun props for a production of Coriolanus lie on a table backstage during rehearsal for the Commonwealth Shakespeare production of the play on Boston Common.

Owusu-Bempah said in a telephone interview that blanks are used to imitate live ammunition in film, as they will still provide a firing sound, a recoil and visible combustion from the shot.

He explained that the firing mechanism for blanks is the same as a live round of ammunition. Both cartridges are comprised of a casing that holds an explosive powder, such as gunpowder, however, the blank does not have a projectile on the end.

Instead, it may be sealed with a cap made out of paper or plastic, he said.

Given this, Owusu-Bempah noted that a blank can still be dangerous, especially at close range.

"This is not the first time that there has been an incident in which prop gun... has involved an injury," he said.

In 1993, Brandon Lee, son of martial arts star Bruce Lee, died after being shot by a prop gun on the set of the movie "The Crow."

The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.

In another incident, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died in 1984 after shooting himself in the head with a blank from a prop gun after being frustrated by delays in filming and pretending to play Russian roulette on the set of the TV series "Cover Up."

However, Owusu-Bempah says the incident involving Baldwin may push the film industry to use more non-functioning weapons or special effects for gunfire rather than blanks.

"I think this does raise really good questions about why such weapons are being used on set at all, especially given our concerns around firearms at the moment," Owusu-Bempah said.

"There's really no need to be using real guns given just how far CGI has come."

Source : 9 News More   

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NSW tourism ad offers the pandemic weary a chance to 'feel new'

A new $10million tourism campaign will attempt to sell New South Wales to the rest of the country and the world as the state opens up post lockdown.

NSW tourism ad offers the pandemic weary a chance to 'feel new'

A new $10 million tourism campaign will attempt to sell New South Wales to the rest of the country and the world as the state opens up post lockdown.

The advertisement campaign, which was launched today, sells NSW as "a place to feel alive, feel free and to feel new again".

A video ad to be screened on TV and rolled out on social media shows images of Sydney's beaches, abseiling in the Blue Mountains, people camping in outback NSW and trying bush tucker, Aboriginal dance theatre and New Year's Eve fireworks.


The NSW Government is aiming to get visitors to contribute $65 billion to the state's economy by 2030, and the campaign is a key part of its strategy toward making that happen.

NSW Premier Premier Dominic Perrottet said his government's announcement that it would scrap and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from November 1 had already been a "gamechanger" for NSW.

"There is a bright future for our state," NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said at the unveiling of the new campaign.


$10 million was allocated toward the 'feel new' campaign.

"We want our people to stay, we want the rest of Australia to visit and we want the world to come and feel and experience the best that NSW has to offer."

"As we open up to not just to Australia, but the rest of the world, I think the images in this campaign will drive the tourism economy here in NSW and take it to the next level."

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said the new campaign was about offering hope that the worst of the pandemic was behind us and would breathe new life into the struggling tourism industry.

Visitors to NSW will not need to quarantine from November 1, providing they are fully vaccinated.

"Over the last 18 months is a devastating impact on the tourism sector: we've seen loss of jobs, we've seen loss of hours, we've seen businesses literally trying to keep their nostrils above the waterline to stay alive," he said.

"But there is a really bright light at the end of this dark tunnel. We've seen this over the last few weeks as we started to reopen our state."

"This is about celebrating the people of NSW... we want to welcome you to come to feel NSW the same way we experience it... we think this is a game-changer for tourism."

Source : 9 News More   

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