The Weekly Reload Podcast

Movie Armorer Steve Wolf on Alec Baldwin's On-Set Shooting

October 31st, 2021

On this episode of the podcast, I interview movie armorer and stunt coordinator Steve Wolf about the disastrous shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's latest film.

Wolf has worked on a number of major tv and movie sets with some of the top actors and directors in the business. He knows exactly what the proper safety protocols on set are when handling firearms. And he explains the many ways a properly-run production is set up to avoid firearms accidents.

He said he always tries to minimize the use of real firearms and blank-firing props in order to reduce the potential for any life-threatening mistakes to occur. But, he emphasized that Alec Baldwin, the assistant director, and the armorer all had to be negligent in how they handled the firearm in question in order for something this tragic to occur. The armorer should have been able to keep live ammunition off set and never should have allowed a live round to find its way into the gun. The assistant director should have checked the gun to ensure it was not loaded with live ammunition before he handed it to Baldwin and told him it was "cold." Baldwin should have verified himself the gun was not loaded with live ammunition and should not have pointed it in the direction of the crew.

Wolf brings his own prop gun and real revolver to show the clear differences between the two. He also shows the clear differences between live ammunition, dummy ammunition, and blanks. They're all differences he said can and should be taught to everyone on a set, especially those who are actually handling the guns.

We discuss whether real guns should be used in movies going forward. These kinds of tragic accidents are rare. Do they justify a sweeping change to the way the industry works or was this purely a case of gross negligence that can't be adapted to the industry at large?

Plus, contributing writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss Firearms Policy Coalition filing a Supreme Court brief against Texas's abortion law as well as David Chipman's claim that support for gun violence is what ultimately doomed his nomination to lead the ATF.