Monday, February 6

Attorneys for ‘Rust’ armorer tout findings from New Mexico probe


Attorneys for the “Rust” armorer touted a New Mexico state investigation looking into the firearm discharged on the set.

The probe found that safety protocols were ignored by production before the gun was discharged, killing the film’s cinematographer and its director.

“[The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)] found that Hannah Gutierrez Reed was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns. Critically, OSHA also determined that production failed to call Hannah in to perform her armorer duties and inspect the firearm right before its use in the impromptu scene with Baldwin,” Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion, attorneys for Gutierrez Reed, said in a statement.

“As we have stated before, had anyone from Production called Hannah back into the church before the scene to consult with her, this tragedy would have been prevented,” they added.

Gutierrez Reed, in addition to others, is currently involved in several negligence lawsuits regarding the incident, including by one by a “Rust” medic and the chief lighting technician for the film.

The gaffer’s lawsuit, claims that given that the film “required multiple assistant armorers to safely manage the firearm needs” and required “an industry-standard degree of care” to be maintained, she should not have accepted the position to be the only armorer working on the film.

But the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau released a summary of their investigation’s results relating to their probe of the fatal “Rust” film incident, indicating Gutierrez Reed had followed protocols.

The bureau, which administers OSHA protocol in the state, found that safety procedures failed to be ensured by the management of the film; “did not provide the Armorer (or Property Master) with the authority to determine if additional training was required” for actors or others on set; and “ignored concerns of firearm misfires on set.”

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“Rust” production “demonstrated plain indifference to the hazards associated with firearms by routinely failing to practice their own safety protocols, failing to enforce adherence to safety protocols, and failing to ensure that the handling of deadly weapons was afforded the time and effort needed to keep the cast and crew safe,” the New Mexico OHSB wrote in a report. 

“Additionally, the Employer disregarded or otherwise did not follow-up, ask questions, or try to understand what happened when employees notified management about the misfire incidents and not feeling safe on set.”

New Mexico said that the film production had received the maximum fine under state law, at close to $137,000.

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