Senator Cortese Calls for Ban of Live Ammunition on Theatrical Productions

Cortese Announces He Will Introduce Legislation in California to Prevent Accidental Shootings on Theatrical Productions

Senator Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley), chair of the California Senate’s Labor Committee, expressed that he intends to introduce legislation that would ban live ammunition, and firearms that are capable of firing live ammunition, from movie sets and theatrical productions in California.

Concern and debate over the safety of prop guns has increased in light of the tragic accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins that occurred this week on the set of the upcoming film "Rust".

There is an urgent need to address alarming work abuses and safety violations occurring on the set of theatrical productions, including unnecessary high-risk conditions such as the use of live firearms” says Senator Cortese who spearheaded Santa Clara County’s “safe-storage ordinance” that prevents accidental shootings and suicides in homes.

Noting that the “Rust” tragedy occurred out of the state, Senator Cortese stated, “It is important that California establish new safety standards and best practices for all those who work in the industry and particularly in our own state. Those working behind the scenes to entertain and bring joy to millions all over the world shouldn’t go to set worrying if they will return home safely to their family. Our entertainment industry must do a better job of ensuring safe working conditions for our hardworking crews. I intend to introduce legislation that would ban live ammunition on sets in California to prevent this type of senseless violence and loss of life. I offer my support in any way to the family of Ms. Halyna Hutchins during this time of tragic loss.”

In an email to its membership Friday morning, The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Local 44 stated that, “a single live round was accidently fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halyna Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that several crew members left the “Rust” set just hours before the accidental shooting due to a dispute over working conditions and safety concerns.

According to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, this week’s incident on the set of “Rust” is still under investigation.

As Chair of the Senate Labor Committee, State Senator Cortese is tasked with reviewing bills that affect workers, ranging from issues such as workers’ safety, workers’ rights, compensation and insurance. Senator Cortese recently joined over 50 members of the State Legislature to urge the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to negotiate collaboratively and in good faith with Hollywood craft workers advocating for improved wages and working conditions on movie and television sets.

For more information, contact Tara Sreekrishnan, Office of Senator Dave Cortese, at 408 480 7833 or