Days after Alec Baldwin was indicted on an involuntary manslaughter charge by a New Mexico grand jury for the deadly shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust, SAG-AFTRA has spoken out in Baldwin's defense.
Hutchins was mortally wounded and director Joel Souza injured when the Colt-style Western revolver Baldwin was pointing at Hutchins and the camera discharged.
To ABC News, Baldwin insisted he didn't pull the trigger, but dropped the gun's hammer on what he didn't realize was a live round, not an inert "dummy" bullet.
"To the extent that the charges filed on January 19 are based on an accusation of negligent use of a firearm predicated on this or any actor having a duty to inspect a firearm as part of its use, that is an incorrect assessment of the actual duties of an actor on set," SAG-AFTRA's statement begins.
"An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert. Firearms are provided for use on set under the guidance of multiple expert professionals," it continues.
SAG-AFTRA notes, "The guidelines require an experienced, qualified armorer to be put in charge of all handling, use, and safekeeping of firearms on set." These duties include "inspecting the firearm and barrel before and after every firing sequence" and "checking all firearms before each use."
Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez was also charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Investigators found a mix of blanks, dummy bullets and live rounds among her equipment.
Further, SAG continues, "The guidelines do not make it the performer’s responsibility to check any firearm. Performers train to perform, and they are not required or expected to be experts on guns."
Regarding the new charges, Baldwin's attorneys said they "look forward to our day in court."