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The Alec Baldwin Murder Case

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Update 01/21/23 – In the photo, I mis-identified the cylinder pusher as the sear.  Sorry.  My description of how the gun works is correct.

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Oct. 21, 2021 Alec Baldwin was allegedly handed a fully loaded Colt Single Action Army (Cowboy gun) replica pistol, allegedly fully cocked it, pointed it at Halyna Hutchins, allegedly pulled the trigger and shot her in the chest, killing her instantly and wounding another person.  Yesterday, January 19, 2023, the New Mexico prosecutor announced that Baldwin and the movie’s armorer will be charged with 4th degree involuntary manslaughter.

In this article I’m doing a technical analysis of what happened and offer my opinion as to why Baldwin’s denial of pulling the trigger cannot be true.  My analysis is based on:

The leftist media is making all kinds of excuses for Baldwin, a prominent anti-gunner, and citing a lot of facts that are totally irrelevant.  True, there should not have been live ammo on the set.  True, set members should not have been target practicing with the revolver.  True, the armorer should have made sure the gun was empty.

BUT. Once Baldwin took that gun in hand, none of that matters.  It all falls away.  The ONLY thing that matters is that he did not clear that gun before handling it.  That is, he did not check to make sure it was unloaded before handling it.  A person who receives a gun has the moral and legal obligation to make sure it is unloaded and safe BEFORE he further handles it.  Let’s explore things.

This is my Colt 45 SAA.

Colt 45 Single Action Army “Cowboy Gun”

This is my “Cowboy Gun”.  This is the same gun that Baldwin used but his was a replica with different dress and mine is the real thing.  In the subsequent photos, the gun is kinda dusty.  Sorry about that but it’s been laying on my desk table for several years.

Colt 45 SAA loading gate closed

When Baldwin received the pistol, this is what he would have seen.  In the center of the photo is the loading gate.  This gate is opened to load the gun or to check whether it is loaded.

Colt 45 SAA checking loaded status from gate

Gate open.  It’s quite evident that the gun is loaded.

Colt 45 SAA empty cylinder

This is the same view that clearly shows that the weapon is unloaded and clear.  Of course, the cylinder must be spun to make sure all 6 chambers are empty.

Colt 45 SAA Checking loaded status from the front

Baldwin didn’t even have to open the gate.  He could have determined the loaded status by merely looking into the front of the cylinder.  People in front of the pistol could also see that the gun is loaded.

Colt 45 Ammo

Here is the ammo.  Pretty large, hard to miss.

I borrowed the following two photos from Warlock Firearms.

This is a photo of the disassembled gun.  The sear is backward in this photo.  The way this pistol works is that when the hammer is fully cocked, the sear catches on a notch in the hammer, holding it fully cocked and pushing the trigger forward.  When the trigger is pulled, the trigger moves the sear out of the way, allowing the hammer to fall and fire the round.

Disassembled Colt 45 SAA

Colt 45 SAA Hammer

This photo shows the detail of the hammer.  This is critical to understanding why Baldwin had to not only fully cock the gun but also pull the trigger.

As the hammer is cocked, the sear first falls into the quarter-cock notch.  Notice this is a notch that captures the sear.  This holds the hammer back a bit so the firing pin is not contacting the cartridge primer.  The trigger cannot be pulled in this position and the hammer cannot drop.

As the hammer is further cocked, the sear engages the half-cock notch.  Again the sear is trapped in the notch and the trigger cannot be pulled.  The hammer must be in this position to allow the cylinder to be rotated to either load the weapon or check that all chambers are empty.

As the hammer is fully cocked, the sear engages the fully cocked ledge.  In this position the sear is not trapped and the weapon can be fired.  As the trigger is pulled, the sear is moved to the left in this photo, releasing the hammer so it can fall with full force and fire the cartridge.

For the gun to have accidentally fired from the half-cocked position, the half-cock notch would have had to be broken off.  The FBI forensic report said that the gun was in good order and the only way it could have fired was if the trigger was pulled.  More specifically, the hammer had to be fully cocked and the trigger pulled.

Based on this analysis, it is my opinion that Baldwin received a loaded gun, failed to clear it, fully cocked the hammer, pointed it at the lady and pulled the trigger.  That is the only way the gun could have fired.

Perhaps Baldwin decided to be a smart-ass and snap the hammer on an empty chamber to startle the lady.  Only he knows what was going through his mind.  What there is no doubt about is that he received a loaded gun, failed to clear it, fully cocked it, pointed it at that lady and pulled the trigger, instantly killing that lady.

The prosecutor announced that he is being charged with 4th degree involuntary manslaughter.  This is the lowest possible felony charge.  I believe she is under-charging him because of his celebrity status.  Even so, if she sticks to her guns and uses the gun enhancement feature of the law, Baldwin could receive 7 years if convicted.  In my opinion, he should have been charged with much more.  First degree voluntary manslaughter at the least.  But this is what we have.  Let’s pray she doesn’t plea bargain.

I must say again that nothing the media is hyping matters.  It doesn’t matter that the armorer wasn’t there.  It doesn’t matter that the guy who handed him the gun told him that it was “cold”.  The only thing that matters is that he did not check the gun to make sure it wasn’t loaded.  That is all that matters.

If I see someone clear a gun and then he hands it to me, I point it in a safe direction, then clear it myself.  I have to be absolutely, positively sure the gun is fully unloaded.  The guy who handed me the gun could have missed a round.  Too many “unloaded” guns fire when the trigger is pulled not to make triply sure the gun is unloaded.  That is the least Baldwin should have done.  That’s what I do and it’s what I teach my students in my gun safety classes. And that is what every safe shooter does.

I also teach my students not to ever point a gun at something they don’t intend to destroy.  In filming the movie, it may be necessary to point the gun at another actor but only after both the armorer and the actor check to make sure the gun is loaded with blanks.  Nothing less is acceptable.

Posted by neonjohn on January 21st, 2023 under Current Events


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