States Are Taking Steps to Get Live Ammunition Off Film Sets

New York and California, to be more specific

Film set
Changes for film sets are in the works.
Adi Goldstein/Unsplash

In the wake of the death of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last year, there was a lot of talk of what the film and television industry could do to make sets safer. There isn’t one standard practice for the use of live ammunition on sets. Some filmmakers preferred to add muzzle flashes in post-production, while others explored technological alternatives. And plenty of observers waited to see if the industry as a whole would commit to an outright ban on ammunition on sets.

As IndieWire reports, the industry as a whole has banned neither live ammunition nor working firearms on sets in response to Hutchins’s death. With the industry not taking action, local governments are stepping in — the article observes that recently introduced bills in New York and California would ban live ammunition from film sets and would standardize the procedures used when a weapon is handled.

That isn’t an industry-wide ban — but given the number of films and television shows filmed in both states, it would have a substantial effect on the industry, and could act as a model for other regions moving forward.

The two bills — SB-831 in California and S7477 in New York — both prohibit live ammunition on sets. The California bill is a bit more wide-ranging in its effects, but both represent a step forward in addressing a very real safety concern. It remains to be seen what the next steps will be — and how the industry will react.

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