New examination of gun determined that it could only have been fired by someone pulling the trigger.
Earlier this year, when involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin in the shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins were dropped, it was done at least partially on the grounds that the special prosecutors on the case wanted more time to investigate the actual gun that had been used—with the prosecutors noting at the time that the charges could be refiled later. As explained by Variety, the sticking point was that the gun had been modified for its use in the film, which Baldwin’s defense argued could’ve caused it to go off without anyone pulling the trigger.
The argument couldn’t be proven or disproven at the time, because the gun had been taken apart by the FBI as part of its investigation into the shooting, but now Variety says that the gun has been reconstructed and put through a new forensic examination, which apparently determined that it could only have been fired by someone pulling the trigger. Here’s how it’s explained in the study: “The fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger.”
So, while Baldwin has denied actually pulling the trigger, this study claims that, for the gun to have gone off the way it did, “the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer.” Variety says that the prosecutors previously indicated that they would refile charges against Baldwin if it turned out that the gun was in regular working condition, but that hasn’t happened (and Variety even notes that it might not happen at all).
Meanwhile, the case against Rust armorer Hanna Gutierrez-Reed, who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering, is moving forward and will go to trial in December.