State lawmaker pushes to ban live ammunition, real guns on California movie sets

In the wake of Halyna Hutchins' death, State Senator Dave Cortese from San Jose is planning to introduce a bill that would ban live ammunition and real guns on movie sets in California.

This tragedy happened in New Mexico where the film was being shot but Dave Cortese said it is up to California, the home of the film industry, to set new standards.

"Every day we are hearing more things that validate the concern," said Cortese.

Cortese is reacting to the latest news that hundreds of rounds of ammunition, some suspected to be live, were collected on the set of the film Rust in New Mexico. Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring Director Joel Souza from Fremont.

 "There’s no way that a live round like that would be allowed in any other kind of a workplace, it just wouldn’t," said Cortese. "For some reason, this industry hasn't been regulated that way."

SEE ALSO: Alec Baldwin discharges prop gun on 'Rust' movie set, killing crew member, injuring director

The former Santa Clara County Supervisor, now chair of the Senate Labor Committee, wants live ammo and firearms capable of shooting live rounds banned on movie sets and theatrical productions in California.

Calls for increased safety are gaining momentum.

Brandon Lee was killed in 1993 by a prop gun while filming The Crow. His fiancée wrote on Twitter, "There’s no such thing as a prop gun."

A petition started by filmmaker Bandar Albuliwi has gathered more than 60,000 signatures.

"I just felt sick to my stomach literally I felt one of my family members was murdered on set," said Albuliwi.

Albuliwi and Hutchins graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory. Albuliwi supports no live firearms.

"Why? Because there’s no need for them," said Albuliwi. "The technology that we have that we have right now, we can mimic anything."

"The only thing that looks like a real gun that feels like a real gun is a real gun," said San Jose State Associate Professor of Cinema Production.

The bill facing some critics. Harry Mathias, a San Jose cinematographer for 45 years, agrees with no live ammo but said real guns add authenticity. He adds, there are plenty of rules to make sets safe.

"Films regulate themselves and they control procedures and safety on the set," said Mathias. "If that’s violated, a law that could be passed could be violated too."

Cortese said the first draft of this bill will be ready Friday. It’s a lenghty process to become law. It could take nine months to reach the Governor’s desk. Cortese is hoping to add an urgency clause to speed it up.

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Azenith at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or