Alec Baldwin faces multiple civil lawsuits and possible criminal proceedings as a result of killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the Santa Fe set of the movie Rust. Still, he perhaps unwisely broke his silence during an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
The actor and producer of the film shockingly denied responsibility for aiming the loaded gun at Hutchins without checking the chamber. In fact, he claimed somewhat implausibly that he did not pull the trigger at all.
"Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn't even supposed to be on the property," Baldwin said. "Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me."
Baldwin inadvertently exonerated armorer Hannah Guttierez-Reed, who at 24 was widely considered too inexperienced for the Western. She actually did give him the safety instructions, Baldwin said, and he had been shooting the pistol that ultimately killed Hutchins for "an hour and a half."
But despite his refusal to take responsibility, either as the actor who pointed the gun or the producer of such a dangerous set, Baldwin made one thing clear: He killed Hutchins because he did not think that basic gun safety rules apply to celebrities on film sets like his.
"I got countless people online saying, 'You idiot, you never point a gun at someone,'" Baldwin said. "Well, unless you’re told it’s empty and it’s the director of photography who’s instructing you on the angle for a shot we’re going to do."
A gun does not care if you're a poor child on the streets of Kenosha or a multimillionaire running a film set. Rule one of basic gun safety is to treat every gun like it is loaded and ready to destroy whatever it is aimed at until you have personally ascertained the chamber is empty, much less loaded with live rounds instead of blanks. The gun does not care what the cinematographer says. The gun does not care what the armorer says or what the AD says. He who aims the gun bears the responsibility for whatever happens next.
As for Baldwin's claim he never pulled the trigger, firearms expert Steve Wolf explained on CNN just how improbable that is. As Wolf demonstrates on a revolver like the one Baldwin used, a case of more trigger discipline would be far more likely.
This is a great visual demonstration of why Alec Baldwin's description of how the gun fired without the trigger being pulled is implausible. https://t.co/GyTfe2t9T3— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 3, 2021
Baldwin obviously did not intend to kill Hutchins, but he clearly bears responsibility for her death just the same. Hubris is a hell of a drug, but let the tragedy of Hutchins's death serve as a reminder that the rules of firearm safety apply to everyone.