'Rust' Armorer Says Alec Baldwin Didn't Take Gun Safety Training Seriously

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

When it comes to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, there's one fact that is not even remotely in dispute: Alec Baldwin was the one with the gun in his hands.

Even Baldwin doesn't dispute this fact, though he claims he never pulled the trigger and it "just went off" which is literally the same thing every other person who accidentally killed someone claimed.

We didn't believe them, either.

Baldwin, however, has deep pockets and he's managed to put a lot of the blame on the armorer on set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

However, her recent testimony makes it pretty clear that someone didn't take their own responsibilities seriously.

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 27, testified on Thursday that actor Alec Baldwin failed to take firearm training sessions seriously before production began for the upcoming Western movie Rust.

Gutierrez-Reed claimed that Baldwin spent a lot of his time during the training sessions texting on his phone, having his assistant shoot videos of him with a firearm for Instagram, and FaceTiming his wife and children, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"I walked in, and I said, 'All right, Alec. I’m going to be your armorer. We’re going to go over how to shoot all your weapons, how to load them, how to make them safe, and we’re going to make sure that you really know — that you look like you know what you’re doing,'" she testified to OHSB.

After the session, Gutierrez-Reed testified that she had requested more training time with Baldwin because "his role is so gun-heavy, and I wanted to make sure he was familiar with his weapon."

"I told them that he needed more time to practice his cross draw because I didn’t want him to have complications with it on filming day," said the armorer and props assistant, who reportedly failed to get more training time with Baldwin before filming began.

Gutierrez-Reed, who is the most likely to go to jail among all of the defendants, said that she was berated by Rust line producer Gabrielle Pickle in an email on Oct. 14, 2021. Pickle complained that she was focusing too much of her time on Armor and "not supporting props as needed."


According to the OHSB report, Gutierrez-Reed sent a text message to Pickle on Oct. 17 that said, "Hey, we’re on day 8 of Armor days. So if there’s gunfire after this you may want to talk to the producers."

Pickle replied, "No more trading (sic) days."

Gutierrez-Reed asked, “Training days?"

Pickle responded, "Like training Alec and such."

Now, this doesn't get Gutierrez-Reed off the hook by any stretch, but it darn sure doesn't look good for Baldwin, at least in my layman's opinion.

I'm not a professional actor--and probably never will be--but I have been an actor. While shots for Instagram are probably pretty important in his line of work, it doesn't take priority over firearm safety. 

This is a western. Westerns have guns. Lots of them. It's part of why we love westerns, after all. That means people need to know what they're doing with them and Gutierrez-Reed said she needed more time with Baldwin and it wasn't provided, yet Baldwin is listed as a producer. It's not like he didn't have the authority to make time for her.

The truth is that Gutierrez-Reed appears to have been too new to the industry, too lacking in clout, to effectively do her job. "If I give a safety recommendation, usually I could get … I could get rolled over in some aspects," the Post Millennial reports her testifying. "If I thought I needed more time or something to prepare for a scene, I could be told to hurry up. I could be told, 'No, we need to do it now.'"

She should have walked.

On the same token, Baldwin has handled firearms in his movies before. He should have known to listen to his armorer, to take the training seriously, and to fully understand how the weapon worked so as to minimize the chances of a tragedy occurring on the set.

We know that Baldwin had the gun in his hand when it went off. The FBI determined that the weapon didn't "just go off." He pulled that trigger, and if he blew off his firearm training, that puts at least some of the onus on him.

But again, he's got deep pockets and Gutierrez-Reed doesn't, so guess who is likely to get the blame.