Last night I was interviewed by Mark Walters on his Armed America Radio show, where I’m an occasional guest.
The large focus of our discussion was the Alec Baldwin shooting tragedy, and as the headline of today’s content suggests, based on the available evidence and New Mexico law, it appears to be that if he’s charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death, he’s likely to be convicted.
I’ll have a more substantive post on this subject later today, but in the meantime, I wanted to share that the video, audio (podcast), and transcript (below my signature) of that interview with all of you this morning.
Transcript: AAR Interview (Oct. 24, 2021)
OK, folks, that’s all I have for you on this topic.
Until next time:
You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.
Know the law so you’re hard to convict.
Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC
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Mark Walters, Host, Armed America Radio
Attorney Andrew Branca, Law of Self Defense, Guest
Walters: Let’s start with the Alec Baldwin situation we, here’s what we do know. And that is Alec Baldwin fired a gun, the prop gun a gun work, you know, whichever one you want to believe from what you read
Branca: A real gun.
Walters: It was it was a real gun and it a projectile was fired. And the cinematographer lost her life 42 years old. It’s God awful situation. A young mother and husband, a child, and a husband now left alone without her from a terrible accident, or was it on a movie set? And the director I guess, also harmed as well. Now apparently he’s out of the hospital right now. What do we know? Or do should we even be talking about this at this point?
Branca: Well, in the short time we have before the break I’ll just say in a nutshell this looks about as clean a case of involuntary manslaughter under New Mexico law as I’ve ever seen.
Walters: Wow. Okay. All right, now, now we’ve got a conversation going. I wasn’t sure that Andrew was going to answer that way. I follow you on social media and I know that questions that question has been has been brought up. But I want to get, if it’s okay with you ,can we get into the weeds as to why you feel that way when we can. Okay good.
Branca: It’s not complicated on that road.
Walters: It’s not complicated. Alright. See, this is I love having you on. To me if I were not talking to you, I would have thought this was a complicated mess. Andrew Branca is going to lay it out for us. One of the nation’s best attorneys, the Law of SElf Defense LLC, Andrew Branca, make sure to check it out at http://lawofselfdefense.com/freebook. Get your copy. It’s a bible at Arms America Radio Ranch, you’ll probably use it the same way. You carry a gun, you need to read it. We’ll be back with Andrew don’t go.
Walters: Back to Andrew Branca. Andrew, you might have guessed from my reaction. I was not expecting to hear that from you that this was the most clear cut case of involuntary manslaughter that you’ve seen, ladies and gentlemen, to bring you up to speed. If you’re just joining us. We’re talking about the Alec Baldwin tragedy where you have a young cinematographer lose her life and another employee on the set wounded. Now out of the hospital, from what I understand, we thank God for that. And Alec Baldwin is the one that fired that gun that fired the shot that killed this woman. Andrew, what’s going on here? What do you know?
Branca: Sure. So you probably saw my blog post or YouTube video from Friday where I wrote, we don’t have all the facts, it could be an an accident, in the legal technical sense. It could be just civil negligence, or it could be criminal recklessness, it could be a crime, but more facts have emerged just in the last 48 hours. So what we know now is that Adam Baldwin was in fact handling the gun. He did in fact point it at the woman who was shot ,there was in fact a live round in the gun that discharged and, under New Mexico law, if those facts are true, effectively careless handling of a gun that results in someone else’s death is involuntary manslaughter ,period. I mean, the statute reads “involuntary manslaughter consists of the commission of a otherwise lawful act which might produce death without due caution and circumspection.” And what’s “due caution and circumspect inspection” when handling a firearm? Well, it’s those fundamental core safety rules of handling firearms, that the gun is presumed to be loaded unless you personally verify otherwise, that you don’t put your finger on the trigger, you don’t depress that trigger unless you want to create a loud noise, that you don’t point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy. And the nice thing about those safety rules is they’re redundant, meaning if you break one of them, you’re still not likely to kill somebody, you have to really break all of them in order to kill somebody. And Adam Baldwin apparently, I’m sorry, Alec Baldwin apparently broke all of them and death resulting now–
Walters: Let me stop you. Let me stop you. I’m gonna play some devil’s advocate here. I’ve been watching. I have been watching the pseudo intellectual psycho babblers, all over Instagram, all over Twitter all over Facebook, these social media posts a bunch of dummies who weren’t there. And these phony intellectual conversations about this, that and the other thing from a bunch of people who are getting their information from Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. and pontificating about things going down a bunch of different roads to the point I scratched my head oh my god, this is the stupidest stuff I’ve ever read in my life. It hurts to read it. Some of that says this. They’re supposed to point guns at other people on movie sets that how they get the desired effect for the movie. They’re supposed to point the gun at the camera, or the it’s the armorer’s job on set. The actor or actress is supposed to trust that individual, it’s their job to do that. Where do you come down on that stuff?
Branca: It’s all irrelevant. It doesn’t matter, because you can point a gun at someone and press the trigger and not have a bad outcome if the guns not loaded. If you break all three rules, someone dies. And all you need to do to ensure that the gun’s not loaded and someone doesn’t die, is take one second to personally ensure the guns not loaded. This is not a 30-minute exercise. And it’s the failure to do that, I mean, that’s the choice. They’re saying, listen, it would have been inconvenient for him to check to see if the gun was safe. Well, you can either have convenience or you can have a dead woman, and he chose the dead woman.
Walters: Now it gets more interesting. There’s a lot of people out there taking a lot of Schadenfreude on the fact that it was Alec Baldwin, a known anti-gun zealot hater of the right to bear arms, of course. And let’s those arms are protecting him and his red carpet. Watch the hypocrisy on Hollywood is on full display right now. Full display right now. The Twitter world erupted in hypocrisy. He had a 2017 tweet, Gee, I wonder what it feels like to mistakenly kill someone. Now he knows. And I don’t take any solace. I’m not here for Schadenfreude. I don’t think Alec Baldwin tried to kill anybody. Let me just make that very clear. But I will tell you this. And I wasn’t there, Andrew. I have never, ever taken a firearm from anyone and trusted them when they said don’t worry. It’s unloaded. I you verify every single time even when you’re at a gun shop. And the dealer hands you a gun that you’ve watched him make sure it’s clear. You make sure it’s clear when you take possession of it. Absolutely. That just that’s just the basic rule. And I don’t think Alec Baldwin knew enough about it. Does that mean that there’s a problem on step? Because I doubt very seriously, if he did it here? He’s been checking guns that he’s been using for years? I don’t know again, I don’t know.
Branca: Well, he knows guns are dangerous because, we know he knows guns are dangerous. First of all, we all know that. But second of all, he’s on the board of a gun control group whose existence is premised on the notion that guns are dangerous. So he knows they’re dangerous. We all know that guns are dangerous. You know, I don’t think much of Alec Baldwin is a person but I have sympathy for him in the sense that I don’t believe for a moment he intended to kill this woman. Clearly that’s not the case. It’s not a murder in a legal sense. The question is, did he act with sufficient recklessness that it’s a different degree of crime. It’s an involuntary manslaughter. And under New Mexico law, if you carelessly handle a loaded gun, and it doesn’t matter how it got loaded, because the person holding the gun is the only person who could have prevented this, ultimately, with certainty, is Alec Baldwin, because the moment before he pressed that trigger with that muzzle on that woman he could have checked to make sure the gun was not loaded. Now might other people share liability? Might the armorer, might the director? Yeah, they may share a liability. They may also bear some liability here. But that does nothing to diminish his [Alec Baldwin’s] liability because all he needed to do was take a second or two to ensure that there was not a live round in that gun before he pointed it at that woman and press the trigger and he didn’t do that.
Walters: And you know, that begs the question and I’ll ask you this when we come back, does Alec Baldwin even know what a live round looks like? To distinguish it from a blank round? While on the set? And could he argue if there was an involuntary charge about I was handed a gun that’s just the way it is on the set? We’ll be back with Andrew Branca fascinating conversation.
Walters: Let’s go back to Andrew Branca. Andrew, the NRA has rules of gun safety. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off target already shoot. Excuse me, I started laughing, and always keep the gun unloaded to ready to use. I add a fourth, as many do, treat every gun as it was always loaded. All of these rules were broken. Right. So let me ask you this. When do you think Hollywood is going to figure out that the big bad NRA actually ought to have somebody that ought to be who they’re turning to, for this information on the set.
Branca: And you know, I think on most productions that are apparently more responsible than this one, appears to have been, there are people, there are armorers present who try to make sure that safety is maintained. I mean, this does not happen all that often. But the truth is, I see some people try to treat this like a like an aircraft safety situation where they say, well, we have to look at all the possible causes and all the possible preventive solutions. But it’s not the same thing, because with an aircraft, errors made previously can cause a crash even if the pilot does everything perfectly. But with guns, it ultimately comes down to one person, the person handling the gun, and a totally incompetent armorer could have put 1,000 live rounds in that gun, and no one would have been hurt if Alec Baldwin had bothered to check before he pressed that trigger.
Walters: Alright, so let’s go to the courts and let’s go to that from the attorney perspective. I’m actually spending more time on this than I wanted to. But these questions are fascinating. Particularly when I really didn’t expect to hear the answer that I got for him. I love that, thank you, for makes great radio. And it leads us down roads, I hadn’t even thought up. Let me put it this way and do so happens. So many times when I speak to you, I just abandon my notes.
Branca: Well, you know, you can ask me, give me back anytime.
Walters: I know that, I love that. And thank you for being here. We asked Andrew on short notice when I decided I did want to cover this a little bit more than I had thought. So I appreciate you being here. That’s what makes this fun and makes great radio, a lot of people are thinking the same things I am. And we have this opportunity. Now I want to make it clear. It’s hard for me, because I, Alec Baldwin hates us. And it’s hard not to say, haha, okay, I don’t want to do that. This guy has thrown the book at gun owners and called us every day. But he’s got terrible anger issues. We’ve all seen the videos, you know that he run into [??] with his kids. I mean, Alec Baldwin’s a world class shit. That’s the only way I can say it safely. However, I don’t think he intended to murder anybody here. So I don’t want to politicize it because of the victims in this case. Alright. But you know what my thoughts are on Alec Baldwin. Okay. I just gave them to you. So, from a legal perspective, How will an investigation now ensue? In New Mexico, from what you know about New Mexico laws, you’ve just given us the outline? Well,
Branca: Well, you know, when we do this kind of analysis, we have to, I look at it from a lawyer’s perspective, at the facts and the evidence, and try to arrive at a conclusion based on the legal merits of the case. But that’s only part of the question, because prosecutors, and the local prosecutor in the Santa Fe area would be the same here, they have basically unlimited discretion on whether they want to charge or not. If they don’t want to charge, no one can compel them to charge. And that’s not a legal decision. That’s really a political decision. So it’s quite possible, regardless of the legal merits of a prosecution, that Alec Baldwin may face no prosecution, because the prosecutor decides he doesn’t want to bring the case. In fact, that wouldn’t surprise me in the least. By the way, even if the case were brought and he was convicted, under New Mexico law he’s looking at a maximum of 18 months. So this is not a 10-year felony conviction. It’s a felony conviction, but only for about a year and a half, worst case. With no prior criminal record. I’m assuming he doesn’t, I really don’t know, hHe may not even do the 18 months. But if he is brought to trial, if the prosecutor does decide he wants to take this case and put it in front of a jury, in my opinion, based on the facts, as we understand them, Alec Baldwin’s done. I mean, there’s just, there’s not much room for argument here. He held it, you know, unless something bizarre were to come up like it turned out the gun had a defect, he didn’t press the trigger, the gun just went off by itself. That would be a defense. Or it turned out she was actually shot by a rifle bullet fired from some dude on the grassy knoll off in the distance, had nothing to do with Alec Baldwin, you know, that would be a defense. But if the round from his pistol, that he pointed at her and was discharged, because he pressed the trigger is what killed her, this doesn’t look to me like anything but involuntary manslaughter under New Mexico law, if he’s prosecuted, but he may not be prosecuted.
Walters: What about those who say, there are inherent dangers on a set with guns in a film like this? And people should expect that something could go wrong, or could be an accident, the [???] could explode from whatever it may be. In my estimation, somebody’s gonna have to be held accountable here. There’s a dead woman here. Somebody has to be held accountable, because under every way I looked at this, I see nothing but net, somewhere, based on what I know, is that a fair assessment if there’s clearly some on Netflix [??].
Branca: Right, so what I see happening because I’ve gotten an unbelievable tsunami of comments on my various coverage of this case, defending Alec Baldwin when there’s really no defense in the legal merits, and I suspect what happened, what’s happened is that a crisis management PR firm has been engaged by Alec Baldwin to try to direct attention away from his own liability, and maybe throw the assistant director who handed him the gun on Did the bus maybe throw the armor who allowed live ammo when the facility under the bus and by the way, both those people may share their own portion of liability in this case, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. But at the end of the day, there was one person who with certainty could prevent this tragedy from happening. And that’s the person holding and pointing the gun and pressing the trigger. If only they had taken the one or two seconds it would take to check that revolver in the gun and make sure it did not have a live round in it.
Walters: Hey, Mr. Armorer, are you sure that you’ve got this right? Before we go any further?
Branca: I wouldn’t even ask the armorer. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t ask anybody, because the person who gave you the gun didn’t give it to you believing it had a live round. So they’re going to say no, it’s safe. And the armorer didn’t prepare the gun with a live round, she thinks. So she’s going to say, no, the gun safe. The only way to know it’s safe, is to look yourself and verify there’s not a live round, no live round on the gun. And if you’re not, if you lack the competence to do that, and not everybody’s familiar with guns, but if you lack the competence to do that, you’re not competent to handle a firearm.
Walters: That’s, that’s true in a lot of aspects. And if you can’t drive, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel of an automobile. It’s that simple. There’s not a lot of parts to this equation, ladies and gentlemen. It’s gonna be shocking to watch this unfold. And we may never get all the facts on this. I don’t know. But I believe somebody is going to have to pay it’s just not going to be a matter of who’s got the best PR because it is Hollywood. Crazy stuff and we come back or with Andrew Branca one more segment fly right along, don’t go away.
Walters: Alright, let’s close out. I’m going to ask you to put an exclamation point on the Alec Baldwin Hollywood movie set issue and then we’ll move on. I want to talk with you about Arbery in Georgia.
Walters: Okay. Good deal. So you said if he’s charged you think he’s convicted for sure. Do you think he’ll be charged? I hate to ask you that, I know it’s–. But what do you think will happen based on what you know so far?
Branca: I couldn’t possibly tell you that, because that’s a political question and not a legal question.
If Alec Baldwin is Charged, I Believe He’s Likely to be Convicted – Law of Self Defense is written byAttorney Andrew Brancafor lawofselfdefense.com