Alec Baldwin, the actor who shot and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust, says that he does not feel guilt for killing her, simply because he does not take responsibility for the shooting. Baldwin claims that he did not pull the trigger.
In an ABC News interview on Thursday with George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin claimed that someone else was responsible for the fatal shooting which claimed the life of the Rust director of photography, Hutchins, and injured its director, Joel Souza.
“Do you feel guilt?” ABC News host Stephanopoulos asked.
“No, no,” Baldwin replied, adding that he felt someone else was to blame for the shooting.
“I feel that there is, I feel that someone is responsible for what happened and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” said the actor, best known for his role as The Boss Baby.
The actor told Stephanopoulos that he would have self-harmed if he felt responsible for Hutchins’ death.
“I might have killed myself if I thought I was responsible, and I don’t say that lightly,” he said.
ABC News reported that on October 21, Baldwin was wielding an antique revolver during a rehearsal for Rust at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, close to Sante Fe, New Mexico, when the gun was discharged.
Baldwin had nothing but praise for the deceased victim, referring to Hutchins as “someone who was loved by everyone who worked with and liked by everyone who worked with and admired.”
“And even now, I find it hard to believe that, it just doesn’t seem, it doesn’t seem real to me,” Baldwin added.
Pressed by Stephanopoulos about how “it wasn’t in the script for the trigger to be pulled,” suggesting that Baldwin had pulled the trigger even though the script nor the rehearsal called for him to do so, Baldwin responded to say “Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.”
“I cock the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’” Baldwin said. “And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off.”
“So you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopoulos pushed on.
“No, no, no, no,” Baldwin insisted. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.”
As many firearms experts on social media pointed out, guns do not discharge themselves unless triggered. A Second Amendment publication called The Reload took a critical view of Baldwin’s claims, and stated the following:
At first glance, this sounds far-fetched. It is exceedingly rare for a gun to fire without the trigger being depressed. Modern firearms, even replicas of antique guns, have safeties specifically designed to prevent them from firing without the trigger being pulled. It only really happens when the gun’s firing mechanism is damaged, or there is a significant design flaw. That’s why most gun owners and firearms safety trainers are highly skeptical of any claim a gun just “went off” absent user error.
In Baldwin’s case, though, the claim is at least somewhat more believable. That’s because the gun involved is more prone to firing without the trigger being pulled. And, even though it’s a modern replica of an antique design, it’s possible it did not include modern safety devices.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza identified the gun used in the shooting as a modern Pietta replica of a single-action army revolver. Those guns can be bought either with a transfer bar that makes it impossible for the firing pin to strike the primer unless the trigger is pulled or without one. Often, enthusiasts and collectors prefer the models without modern safety devices because it’s more authentic and perfectly safe when handled properly.
A single-action revolver usually requires the hammer to be manually cocked, and the trigger be pulled for a shot to be fired. That’s why it’s referred to as a single-action: because the trigger performs just one action. It drops the hammer. In a double-action revolver, on the other hand, the trigger can both cock and release the hammer.
However, a single-action revolver with the old-style firing mechanism can fire without either the hammer being cocked or the trigger being pulled. When the hammer is down on that kind of revolver, the firing pin protrudes and, if a live round is loaded in the chamber underneath, a sharp enough jolt can cause the pin to strike the round’s primer with enough force to set it off.
In November, Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney slammed the inexperienced crew along with Baldwin for the fatal accident. Rebel News reported that the actor said that the firearm should have been checked the moment it was on set.
“Every single time I'm handed a gun on set, I look at it, I open it, I show it to the person I'm pointing it to, we show it to the crew,” said Clooney. “Every single take you hand it back to the armourer when you're done, and you do it again.”