'Rust' Shooting Sparks Movie Safety Discussion

Monday, October 25th 2021, 5:25 pm
By: Ashley Holden


What appears to be an accidental shooting on the set for "Rust" has put a focus on film set safety.

Local armorer Rick Staton worked as an Oklahoma City police officer for over 25 years.

He now works on sets and with studios like Prairie Surf Media.

"I like to show these three guns, in particular," said Staton. "They are very similar."

But not all of the guns used on sets are real.

"This gun is a prop gun," said Staton. "It has a plugged barrel."

Staton works with films to find safe ways to make movie magic. He told News 9 he starts his time on sets with a safety meeting.

"I want everybody to know and be safe," said Staton. "Your camera person has to know that this gun is not loaded because some time or another it's going to get pointed at them."

That meeting is the only time other people handle the guns.

"I'm going to be the one handling it," said Staton. "I'm going to hand it off to the actor. You can't let anyone touch it but me and you. The director can't ask for it. No one can take it. I never leave him,"

News 9 asked if live ammunition was allowed on set.

"Never," said Staton.

He said he even checks to make sure no one else on set has any live ammunition either.

"Working in the entertainment industry, it is packed with rules and regulations," said Rachel Cannon, co-CEO and founder of Prairie Surf Media.

Cannon said they want to work with movie makers as a partner, ensuring they are getting all the vendors they need to keep a safe and cost-effective set.

"At Prairie Surf Studios, we have Marines like Hagan who work as our stage managers, and our studio manager to make sure that everything that is following protocol is done in a safe way," said Cannon

"In the film industry, it allows us to have an expertise on the realism, the employment of the weapons systems while maintaining a safety level that is not to be pushed one way or the other," said studio manager Hagan Hunter.

News 9 asked Staton about the apparent accidental shooting on the set of "Rust."

"I don't know the circumstances that were involved in that," said Staton. "I mean, it's a horrible tragedy, but I'm not going to allow for it to happen here."