SANTA FE, NM (AP) — A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico wants movie actors and other film professionals to take state-sponsored gun safety training after a cinematographer was shot last year by Alec Baldwin with a gun he thought was not loaded with live ammunition.
State Sen. Cliff Pirtle of Roswell introduced a bill Monday that would require all acting and film production personnel where firearms are present to complete a safety course offered by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. which is designed primarily for hunters.
Production companies that fail to comply risk their eligibility for state film tax refunds. New Mexico offers a reimbursement of between 25% and 35% of state expenses for video production, which helps filmmakers large and small to underwrite their work.
It was unclear whether the Democratic-led Legislature would bring the bill to debate and possible vote in a 30-day legislative session that ends Feb. 17. Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham had yet to read the bill Monday and declined to say whether she supports the initiative, according to an email from spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett.
Pirtle is a farming business partner and a strong gun rights advocate. He handled firearms on film sets while playing minor roles for Western movies, such as 2018’s “Deadman Standing” and 2021’s “Death Alley.”
The senator said in a statement that he was heartbroken to learn of Halyna Hutchins’ death in October 2021 on the set of “Rust.”
“Unfortunately, for the Hollywood elite, the gun talk is too abstract,” Pirtle said. “This is a simple bill to bring some seriousness back to the use of firearms on film sets.”
Baldwin said he was unaware the gun he was holding contained live ammunition when it exploded while pointed at Hutchins.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the cause of death, said it was too early to determine whether charges would be brought.
Investigators have described ‘a certain complacency’ in the way the weapons were handled on set at a shooting ranch near Santa Fe, as they trace the source of the set’s ammunition, including live cartridges and dummy.
Pirtle says his 10-year-old son took standard firearms training by the state Department of Gaming and Fishing to make him understand that firearms are not just household tools, but can also be deadly.
Sackett said Department of the Environment workplace safety regulators have been investigating the death on the “Rust” set and are studying movie industry standards for the safe handling of firearms.
New Mexico enforces general workplace safety requirements on film sets and in some cases defers to gun safety standards developed by the film industry.