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Pursuits

States Mostly Defer to Union Guidance for On-set Gun Safety

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In this Jan. 30, 1986, file photo, actor Brandon Lee, son of the late martial arts expert and film star Bruce Lee, poses for a picture. Court records show that an assistant director unwittingly handed Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot a cinematographer on the set of a Western, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. The tragedy comes nearly three decades after Brandon Lee died in a similar case, and it has prompted horrified questions about how it could have happened again. (AP Photo/Lacy Atkins, File)
In this Jan. 30, 1986, file photo, actor Brandon Lee, son of the late martial arts expert and film star Bruce Lee, poses for a picture. Court records show that an assistant director unwittingly handed Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot a cinematographer on the set of a Western, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. The tragedy comes nearly three decades after Brandon Lee died in a similar case, and it has prompted horrified questions about how it could have happened again. (AP Photo/Lacy Atkins, File)

(AP) -- Safety standards developed by film studios and labor unions are the primary protection for actors and film crews when a scene calls for using prop guns. The industry-wide guidance is clear: “Blanks can kill. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded.”

Shootings nevertheless have killed and injured people while cameras rolled, including the cinematographer who died and the director who was wounded this week when no one realized a prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin during the filming of “Rust” carried live rounds that are far more dangerous than blanks.