Rust Shooting Prompts Proposed New Mexico Law Requiring Gun-Safety Training For Actors, Crew

A New Mexico State senator on Monday introduced legislation that would require actors and other crew members to take a gun-safety course offered by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, a move that comes just more than three months after the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the Santa Fe set of Rust.

The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Fe DA is investigating the incident, in which a gun being held by star and producer Alec Baldwin discharged, with the live ammunition striking and killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. No charges have been filed.

Cliff Pirtle, a Republican state senator from Roswell, NM, has a pair of credits in Western movies, according to IMDb: 2018’s Deadman Standing and 2021’s Death Alley. His bill would require the safety course, which is tailored to hunters, for any production in the state where firearms are present.

Production companies that don’t comply would risk being eligible for lucrative New Mexico film and TV tax rebates, which have made the state a magnet for Hollywood productions. Rust was being made on a film location at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe when the fatal shooting occurred October 21.

“Unfortunately, to the Hollywood elite, the talk around guns is all too abstract,” Pirtle told the Associated Press. “This is a simple bill to bring some gravity back to the use of firearms on film sets.”

The AP said a spokesperson for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said today that the governor had not read the bill. The current New Mexico legislative session ends February 17.

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