Guns are “not really problematic unless put in the wrong hands,” the rookie armorer on the set of Alec Baldwin’s ill-fated movie “Rust” said last month on a podcast.
“I think the best part about my job is just showing people who are normally kind of freaked out by guns, like, how safe they can be,” the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, said on the Voices of the West podcast. “A lot of it, for me, is just being able to show the world, like, you know, guns are awesome.”
Gutierrez-Reed, 24, a former model, is at the center of a death investigation after actor Alec Baldwin, using a gun that was supposed to be safe, shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set Thursday and badly wounded director Joel Souza.
Police in New Mexico, where the Western was being shot at the Bonanza Ranch outside Santa Fe, have not charged anybody.
The deadly shooting has raised questions about whether, in the age of computerized visual effects, there is a need for real armaments, along with calls to outlaw potentially lethal firearms on movie sets.
Gutierrez-Reed, who could not be reached for comment and who has made no public statements about the deadly mishap, was in charge of weapons on the set of “Rust.”
In the podcast, she said her father, stuntman Thell Reed, began teaching her about guns and gun safety when she was 16. But she acknowledged that she was still learning the ropes.
“I think loading blanks is like the scariest thing to me, because I was, like, ‘Oh, I don’t know anything about it,’” she said.
As the armorer on the set, Gutierrez-Reed was supposed to make sure that the guns being used in “Rust” were secure and safe to use, industry experts have said.
After Baldwin shot Hutchins and Souza, Gutierrez-Reed “took the spent casing out” and handed the prop gun over to investigators, according to a newly released affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
Nine spent shell casings and three black revolvers were among the 28 items that were seized from the set, the sheriff’s office said.
Gutierrez-Reed “set up” the prop gun and gave it to assistant director David Halls, who, in turn, handed it to Baldwin during a rehearsal and yelled “cold gun” to indicate that there were no live rounds in it, according to warrants released by the sheriff’s office.
Baldwin was sitting in a pew on the set of a church and “practicing a cross draw” when the gun went off, according to warrants.
In the podcast, Gutierrez-Reed said she had not always intended to become an armorer.
“I used to do modeling a bit, and then I decided modeling didn’t really have any sustenance and people didn’t really see you for anything more than face value, so I decided to get more into this line of work,” she said.
Gutierrez-Reed said that before she joined the “Rust” crew, she had just wrapped up her first job as armorer on the set of “The Old Way,” which stars Nicolas Cage as a retired gunslinger.
“I was really nervous about it at first, and I almost didn’t take the job, because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but doing it, like, it went really smoothly,” she said. “It was a really badass way to start off a really long and cool career, I’m hoping.”