NM bill would require gun training for actors

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The shooting on the set of the movie Rust was, without a doubt, a horrible tragedy. It simply shouldn’t have happened. It was a prime example of how actors need gun training and shouldn’t just rely on the armorers to keep everyone safe.

And, to be sure, a lot of actors do get some degree of training. Yet if the big star doesn’t want to do it, there’s usually not much that can be done.

But a lawmaker in New Mexico, where Rust was being filmed, has introduced a bill that will try and change that.

Actors and others who work around firearms on film sets would be required to take a gun safety course under legislation proposed Monday at the Roundhouse – a response to the fatal “Rust” shooting last fall.

Republican state Sen. Cliff Pirtle of Roswell said he introduced the proposal to ensure actors and prop personnel understand they’re handling a deadly weapon, not just a prop, during scenes with firearms.

They would have to complete hunter safety training offered by the Department of Game and Fish.

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

The proposal, Senate Bill 188, faces long odds in the 30-day session now underway. It has not been authorized by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for addition to the legislative agenda, and the session ends in 18 days.

In other words, there’s not much chance this bill actually gets passed.

Which is probably a bad thing.

Look, understand that I would prefer the government stay out of private industry, and the film industry is a private industry. However, it’s an industry which just had a major failure that cost an innocent woman her life.

Plus, the big stars kind of create their own rules. Directors and producers can’t afford to alienate the big name because they might quit and since funding is often tied to the big name being in the movie, it can doom the entire project.

Yet if it’s the law, there’s not much a movie star can do to get out of mandatory training.

The downside is that they might just decide not to film in New Mexico, of course, which I’m sure many productions would probably do. But that’s not really the end of the world for New Mexico.

The truth is that actors need gun training. They shouldn’t be able to get out of it, either.

Which is especially hilarious because so many of them think you and I should have to go through gun training before buying a gun, but they shouldn’t before pointing a gun at people and pulling the trigger. Rules for us but not for them.

Regardless, such a law is far better than those proposed that would ban the use of real firearms on movie sets, which has been proposed. Thankfully, that bill has been pulled.

But gun training is a smart thing for every actor to undergo.

No, they don’t need to be able to run and gun like Keanu, but making sure they’ve got the basics of safety down? They should all have those basics before ever touching a gun on the set. If the industry can’t make them do it, then maybe the law is the best way to go.

Again, I don’t like it. It’s not that far of a trip between making actors get training and making us get it, but then again, we’re unlikely to be in a position of shooting someone because of a lack of training.