Brandon Lee’s Sister Wants Gun Safety Reform on Movie Sets After Rust Accident

The tragic death of Halyna Hutchins seemed all too familiar for Shannon Lee. The daughter of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, Shannon’s brother, Brandon Lee, had also been killed by a prop firearm on the set of The Crow in 1993. His death had led to increased safety regulations in movie and TV productions, leading to immense confusion and anger from many when a prop gun Alec Baldwin was holding had somehow discharged a “live round” that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

Sharing her thoughts on the tragic Rust set accident in a guest column for Variety, Shannon Lee details how she feels like someone who was one of the “main characters” in the “original version of this story” who had to learn to heal after suffering a terrible loss. This time, Lee feels more like the “seasoned veteran” who’s here to offer some sage advice to “set the stage for some measure of redemption.” She begins by taking issue with the argument that no changes are needed to gun safety protocols as the system “works” when the current regulations are followed.

“But does it? … In a Hollywood plot, the senseless death of a key character would likely rally the community to make a stand. So I ask you, Hollywood, is a human life worth taking a moment to, at the very least, reassess the situation? At the minimum how about we have a constructive conversation? But before we begin, ask yourself (but really ask): If you lost your loved one to gross, avoidable negligence, would you want the culture that spawned that negligence to answer the question of how it might do better?”

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Shannon Lee goes on to suggest some ideas that could be put in place to prevent more accidents in the future like what happened with Jon-Erik Hexum, Brandon Lee, and Halyna Hutchins. This includes a potential shift away from using real firearms on sets as much as possible, thinking of this as “innovation rather than punishment.” She lists a handful of other ideas as well that could possibly improve gun safety on sets.

“Could we require actors to receive mandatory gun safety training before handling a gun on a film set so that they can have some sovereignty over their safety and the safety of those they are pointing a firearm at? Could the person in charge of safety on a film set not be the same person in charge of making sure the production runs on time and on budget so there are no conflicts of interest or cutting of corners? Could a seasoned and competent gun safety specialist be required to be on set any time a real firearm is being used – even just for one setup? And could that specialist be the only person to handle the weapons and hand them to the actors?”

Lee says that “absolutely no one wants the remake rights to this tragedy,” insisting that the community should just end the drama and come together to employ a solution that works with the safety of the cast and crew coming first. This also follows other filmmakers already taking measures to move away from firearms, including the productions of The Boys and The Rookie. You can read the full guest column written by Shannon Lee at Variety.

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