A New Mexico state senator has introduced a bill that would require film set employees who handle firearms to complete a safety training course, just months after the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the “Rust” film set.
Senate Bill 188, which Cliff Pirtle introduced on Monday, says, “All individuals employed in New Mexico by a film-production company that has firearms or firearm ammunition physically located on the premises where filming is taking place shall have a valid certificate of competency in the safe handling of firearms pursuant to the Hunter Training Act.”
Hutchins was fatally shot on October 21 after actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm during a rehearsal for a scene in a church at Bonanza Creek Ranch. Director Joel Souza was also injured. The shooting prompted an investigation and conversations about gun safety in Hollywood.
“I was heartbroken to learn of the tragic incident on the Rust film set,” Pirtle, a Republican, said in a statement. “Having personally used a similar revolver on film sets, I know there is no space to be cavalier with these firearms. They are not props; they are deadly weapons regardless of the context of use.”
The hunter education program that film set employees would have to take is run by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish. It provides training, certification and teaches the responsible handling of firearms to anyone interested, said Lance Cherry, chief of information and education for the department.
It includes “in person classes, online courses, and skills-based hunter education camps,” and requires a written test and a proficiency test, Cherry said.
Pirtle said his 10-year-old son has taken “standard training” provided by the Game & Fish Department.
“I wanted him to know that though guns are a tool in my household, they are still deadly,” the senator said in his statement. “I believe responsible gun ownership is essential to our freedom.”
The bill proposes an effective date of January 2023. The bill would need to clear the Senate before it can move on to the state’s House of Representatives, Pirtle told CNN in an email.
CNN has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.
Baldwin last month turned over his cell phone to law enforcement officials as part of their investigation into the shooting. His attorney has said the actor did “nothing wrong” and that, “he was told it was a cold gun, and was following instructions when this tragic accident occurred.”
Officials are looking to obtain messages, call logs, digital photos and videos, as well as any private messages sent on social media platforms in relation to the production of “Rust,” a previously issued search warrant said. It also looks to obtain any deleted videos, photos and messages on the phone having to do with the movie.
Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer on the set, loaded the gun with what she thought were dummy rounds before Baldwin used it on set, lawyers for the armorer have said. Gutierrez Reed sued the movie’s gun and ammunition supplier.
Two crew members have told CNN Gutierrez Reed mishandled weapons on a previous film project.