“In Italy a case like the one that happened to Alec Baldwin could never happen“. He is sure of it Franco Ragusa, president of Aiat-Sfx, coordinator of special effects in films such as Quantum of solace and The Passion of the Christ. “Everything that happens during the shooting of Italian films involving staged weapons is regulated by article 22 of law 110 of 1975 and the subsequent implementation circular. Law that has undergone some changes in 2010 and also in the last five six years ”, explains Ragusa.
In fact, the implementing circular speaks of “demilitarization” or “deactivation” of the weapon, therefore of the transformation of a war or war-type weapon (eg submachine gun or Kalashnikov) into a common firearm (revolvers or rifles). For example, for a pistol, the barrel is modified so that it is no longer possible to fire normal cartridges and then it can be used for blank bullets. L’weapon then goes bank and sent to the National Test Bench for commercial firearms and ammunition based in Gardone in Val Trompia (Brescia). There the weapon will be marked with a stamp and the license of use will be granted. To all this must be added the “Transport permit” finally approved by the police headquarters of the place of departure and by the police headquarters of the place of arrival where the film will be shot, to which the communication of the spaces where the shootings will take place must be attached.
“Of course, there are scenes in which the details of loading a weapon are framed with intact cartridges not blanks, but then immediately after it is carried out emptying. Among other things, sometimes the guns used on stage do not even make noise – explains Ragusa – the blank cartridges are industrially produced so there is nothing artisanal in preparing them and even if there are no real bullets in the barrel we we always recommend not aiming at others or on yourself a weapon loaded with blanks. Between the blast and pieces that can fly away you risk getting very badly ”.
On stage, the responsibility for the weapons to be used rests with the gunsmith: “Now all the actors when they go on stage they always ask without you saying anything: but is the gun loaded? However, I repeat the advice to everyone: ‘always do as if the gun were loaded’ ”. Finally, the Baldwin case. “In the United States, everything is much freer and we must add the issue of the license of firearms,” he says Edoardo Mori, retired judge and expert in legislation and gun collecting. “AND highly probable that they will turn weapons which they usually use even if they are ancient, precisely because the license of firearms is widespread among the most common citizens ”. Both experts point out that an untreated handgun like a drum revolver could end up in the midst of prop firearms. Just a hypothesis given what happened on a “western” set like that of Rust. A situation, in fact, impossible to occur in an Italian set because, as Ragusa says: “The zero risk with respect to serious or even fatal accidents never exists, but in Italy only ‘treated’ weapons are used and a case like the one that happened in the United States it is almost impossible for it to occur ”.
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