On October 21, 2021, Alec Baldwin fired a single-action revolver and killed Halnyah Huchins and wounded Joel Souza. On January 19, 2023, Baldwin was charged with involuntary homicide. From what I read, he plans to fight the charges. It’s going to be an interesting case to watch. In 2018, Baldwin spoke for a “No Rifle Association Initiative” politically going after the National Rifle Association. I suspect the NRA firearm safety rules are going to come up in his trial
When handling a gun, follow these three fundamental rules:
- ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
- ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
- ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
As near as I can see, Baldwin missed 3 for 3 on following these safety rules (though he has asserted he didn’t pull the trigger, I’d hate to need to convince a jury on that claim). The involuntary manslaughter case, as I understand it, deals not with intent, but negligence. His assistant director, David Halls, signed a plea agreement to the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, and has 6 months probation and a suspended sentence. Hannah Guitterez-Reed (the set armorer) is charged with the same crime as Baldwin – and it basically boils down to negligence.
Baldwin’s attorney has his own comments: “a terrible miscarriage of justice,” said Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney. “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”
I would hate to be in Baldwin’s shoes. Over fifty years ago, I rolled a car, and came to in the wreck to find my passenger thrown out. I was lucky – Barb was virtually uninjured – she landed on both feet with only a quarter-inch cut from broken glass on her hand. I only had five or ten seconds believing that I had killed a friend – and that horrible thought is still with me over half a century later. I feel for the man. Still, despite the right A-frame failure on my car, I was the guy at the wheel.
Baldwin has a record of calling for the elimination of the organization that provided and taught the gun safety rules. He has denied pulling the trigger, and neither the prosecutor or I find that claim credible (my opinion doesn’t count). The case should be interesting.