'Sons of Anarchy' Creator Kurt Sutter Speaks out About 'Rust' Shooting

Kurt Sutter thinks Hollywood needs to "reevaluate" the use of real guns on set in the wake of Alec Baldwin's Rust shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. The Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. co-creator spoke at length about the tragedy to Deadline while discussing his upcoming Netflix Western project titled The Abandons

"I have tried to avoid talking because anything I might say would feel like judgment," he said of the shooting, which occurred when a loaded gun was mistakenly shot during filming. "On all my sets, from The Shield to Sons, we had guns in almost every scene, but we never had an incident. We had a machine in place for props and safety. We had some motorcycle spills, but never an incident with a weapon."

Following protocol was crucial to keep everyone on set safe through those scenes, Sutter continued, including hiring "competent prop people," actors who were "smart" and making sure gun tests were carried out in front of cast and crew. In addition, any hot guns on set only included a "sound load" and "everything else was always rubber."

"I don't know what went down on that set. My sense, from listening to the information that's coming in, the letting go of union crew, and bringing on non-union crew, that those safety protocols were not met," he continued. "You didn't have people that either knew about them or thought they were important, right, because, experientially, they didn't know. Now, whose fault is that? Is it the producer's fault? Is it the director's fault? I don't know where the blame lands, but to me, that's the hole, right?"

Sutter continued that his future shows will conform to any kind of gun reform that is enacted in Hollywood. "If, ultimately, rubber guns is the way it has to go, and becomes the next level of safety, I completely understand and let's do that because you can do so much with CG now," he continued. Having this tragedy happen so publicly could even be "signal in terms of let's reevaluate how we do things," Sutter said, and needs to be taken as seriously as COVID protocols in the industry.

"Was what happened an isolated incident? Maybe. Maybe not, and I don't think we can take that risk," he explained. "So whatever the decision is, I think the point is let's look at s— and reevaluate how we do things so that these circumstances can't manifest into the perfect storm that creates this bizarre and tragic incident."

Having live rounds on set at all was "idiocy," Sutter added. "That is people that who don't give a f- and yeah, are using the weapons to shoot tin cans or shoot rats, and that behavior. ...The fact that it was live ammo never even entered my mind until it came out in the press. I couldn't even wrap my brain around the fact that there was live ammo, in the vicinity of a set, right? That's just negligence, people not paying attention or not having people who know what the protocol is and aren't checking. That creates the perfect storm."