The accidental shooting on the production of “Rust” that resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has sent reverberations throughout Hollywood for the last two weeks. Now, over 200 of Hutchins’ peers are calling for a ban on functional firearms on film and television sets.
Variety and other outlets reported Tuesday that a collection of cinematographers, including Ed Lachman, Rachel Morrison, Greig Fraser, and Stephen Lighthill, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, were among the names on an open letter to union leaders, lawmakers, and producers to support a ban on functional firearms on sets. The open letter was signed by 214 cinematographers and other entertainment industry professionals.
“We vow to no longer knowingly work on projects using functional firearms for filming purposes. We vow to no longer put ourselves and our crew in these unnecessarily lethal situations,” the letter read, per Variety. “We have safe alternatives in VFX and non-functional firearms. We won’t sit back and wait for the industry to change. We have a duty to effect change within the industry ourselves.”
“Halyna Hutchins was an incredible rising-star cinematographer who passionately loved her job and cared deeply about the images she created. She was a friend, a colleague, a part of our cinematography community. Her death by shooting on October 21, 2021, by a live firearm expelled on the set of the film ‘Rust’ was senseless, negligent and avoidable,” an excerpt of the letter read. “We are Halyna Hutchins’ fellow directors of photography and we vow to not let her death be in vain. We are calling for immediate action from our union leadership, our producers and our lawmakers to affect unified change on our behalf: Ban all functional firearms on set.”
The open letter noted that there are alternatives to using live firearms on sets, including VFX and non-functional firearms.
The safety issues on the “Rust” set that led to Hutchins’ death have already inspired some changes inside the entertainment industry. “The Rookie” made headlines when Alexi Hawley, the ABC series’ showrunner, announced that “live” guns, which contain quarter or half loads, would no longer be used on the title’s sets in the future.