SAG-AFTRA backs Alec Baldwin amid ‘Rust’ shooting manslaughter charge

SAG-AFTRA backs Alec Baldwin amid ‘Rust’ shooting manslaughter charge

An actor’s job does not include being a firearms expert: That’s the message from SAG-AFTRA in response to a New Mexico grand jury’s decision to charge Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the 2021 shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of the movie “Rust.”

“Performers train to perform, and they are not required or expected to be experts on guns or experienced in their use,” the union said in a statement on Thursday. 

Baldwin was holding the gun that fired and killed Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. The actor has repeatedly said he cocked the hammer of the gun, but did not pull the trigger. 

SAG-AFTRA notes that there are industry guidelines that require an armorer to be in charge of firearms on set. 

“Anyone issued a firearm on set must be given training and guidance in its safe handling and use, but all activity with firearms on a set must be under the careful supervision and control of the professional armorer and the employer,” the union stated. 

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer who was on the set of “Rust,” was also charged with involuntary manslaughter. She has pleaded not guilty. A trial for Gutierrez-Reed is scheduled to begin in February. 

Baldwin is also scheduled to appear in court in February to enter a plea on the manslaughter charge.