SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO — Actor Alec Baldwin recently fired a gun loaded with blank cartridges on a movie set, killing one and injuring another.
Here are the ways in which blank cartridges can kill you: The BBC reports that actor Alec Baldwin fired a dummy gun on a film set on Thursday, October 21, killing the director of photography and injuring the director.
Initial reports indicate that this was an accident caused by an improperly loaded prop gun.
The most famous death caused by a prop gun was that of actor Brandon Lee, who was killed while filming a scene in which his co-star fired a blank cartridge at him.
The film crew had made a mistake by not double-checking the gun’s barrel before loading it with a blank cartridge.
If they had checked, they would have found that the tip of a dummy bullet had broken off and was still stuck in the barrel of the gun.
A dummy bullet is a fake cartridge that is used to simulate a real bullet during filming.
When Lee’s co-star fired the gun at him, the exploding gases of the blank cartridge propelled the forgotten fragment of the dummy bullet forward, hitting Lee and lodging in his spine.
Another way in which blank cartridges can kill is if the gun is held too close to a person when it is fired, resulting in the force of the escaping gases breaking off a piece of skull or bone and pushing that fragment into a vital organ.
It’s also possible that a fragment of the blank cartridge’s metal casing can break off and exit the gun’s muzzle at high velocity.
The paper or wax that keeps the gunpowder in place will also shoot out at high velocity.
Another risk is that residue from previous blank cartridges can build up in the gun’s barrel.
If the gun is not cleaned properly, this residue can build up to a significant size, causing the gas explosion to become more violent and propelling the hard residue at fatal velocities.
The bottom line is that one should never shoot a blank cartridge from a short distance, and never aim at someone’s eyes or head.