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RE: Real guns on location

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Sam Lesante Jr.RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 13, 2013 at 8:14:34 pm

Does anyone know what the laws are with having real guns at a shoot?

We are going to be in a wooded area doing a show and two of the guys said they have permits to carry and conceal.

Are they legally allowed to have them during our recording?



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Michael HancockRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:17:34 pm

What state are you in? I doubt it's illegal, unless the woods you're shooting in are on the restricted list of where you can conceal carry. Federal buildings and schools, bars, etc... are common exceptions to where you can conceal carry. Woods - not so much. Call your Sheriff - they'll know.

If they're just conceal carrying then I wouldn't worry about it. You could make it a part of your contract that they won't conceal carry while working with you, if it bothers you.

Michael Hancock

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Mads Nybo JørgensenRE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 14, 2013 at 9:17:28 am

Hey Sam,

Setting aside that if it is for a video/film shoot that you might want to have an armourer with you to make sure that all weapons are secure and save grief with insurance and unions later.

The more important point is that if your shoot is not registered, then there is a good possibility that a chance walker-by will call the police. They will shoot before asking questions - at which point any right or wrong becomes a moot point. Like all weapons on set or location, it is important to have the local authorities on board where ever you are, to avoid costly mistakes. You may also want to ensure that you have at least one person with first aid experience and know where the local A&E is located.

My 5p.

All the Best

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid

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Jonathan ZieglerRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 14, 2013 at 7:57:47 pm

Egads, I never use real guns. I will use a plastic knockoff that look slike a gun, but I plan on adding bits in post anyway.

There are hazards to using real guns: if you have production insurance, it won't likely cover a real gun accident of any kind, someone could get shot (either by another actor, the police if you forgot to call and let 'em know you were gonna be doing a video shoot with guns, etc.), real guns can fire, prop guns can't... there are a whole host of reasons NOT to use a real gun.

Every time I've done a shoot with guns, only ONE PERSON can handle the guns when the cameras are not rolling (the designated Gunmaster) and EVERYONE who will be handling a gun on camera must clearly check their gun in and out. Some think it's overkill, but it doesn't change the fact that these are guns even only by appearance and must be respected as such. Remember: Brandon Lee was killed on a set with seasoned professionals with a REAL gun. Today, his accident would have been avoided, though only because of his death... might be a paradox there. ;)

Today's off-the-shelf video editing software applications make real guns on set mostly obsolete. Just take your actors to a shooting range to shoot real guns for an afternoon. They'll have a BLAST (okay, maybe an intended pun...) and they will know how to handle a real gun and translate that to a fake one.

Save early. Save often.

Jonathan Ziegler

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Scott SheriffRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 15, 2013 at 12:13:22 am

It helps to know the particulars. I'm assuming you mean handguns, since you say you have guys with a CWP, but really the devil is in the details. What state? Private, state, or federal owned property? Rural areas are generally more open to this type of activity, but it's not guaranteed.
State laws vary greatly. About half the states don't prohibit open carry, so in those you don't need a permit unless the weapon is carried concealed. Colorado is a good example. Some have a partial prohibition, like TX where rifles are OK to open carry in some areas, handguns are no-go. All 50 states have some type of CWP, but that won't cover you if the gun is out of concealment, so if the weapons are on display at all, your CWP is of no use and a moot point, and can possibly open you up to a brandishing charge in some states. Plus it is hunting season is upon us, and in hunting areas you can run into problems with game and fish rangers. They have a whole different set of rules as far as dry chamber, number of rounds, etc.
Plus even in open carry friendly states, there are rules governing how the weapon is carried, and handled. The weapon needs to be in the holster, or if it's a long gun properly carried with a sling, and usually a dry chamber. Again, the devil is in the details, and you could be in for a lot of problems, or none at all.
Also those that say you should always use rubber, or plastic guns are right from a insurance and liability standpoint, but in a few of the more gun-unfriendly states (mostly east coast and CA), realistic fake weapons can count towards a charge of brandishing the same as a real firearm. Anything that can cause a person seeing it to become 'alarmed' counts towards a brandishing charge.

Scott Sheriff
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

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Ned MillerRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 16, 2013 at 12:12:46 am

As I recall, I was told it's illegal to POINT the gun at someone.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer

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Sam Lesante Jr.Re: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 16, 2013 at 2:25:33 pm

Thanks all for the replies.

I just got more details of the shoot.

I'm in Pennsylvania. We will be on private land and 2 of the "on camera" guides have handguns.

Here's the thing, the segment we are doing is about bigfoot :)

These 2 guys are bigfoot hunters and we have 2 hosts going with them on a hunt at night.

Now it is assumed that we are not going to find even a trace of bigfoot, so we (the production team) decided to see what would happen if they did find him. In other words, we have a guy that is going to dress up as bigfoot. Now our 2 hosts are not aware of this and either are the 2 with the guns. That's why I'm afraid to see what might happen when they run into our guy.

So I was curious about the laws because I need a solid way of telling them not to bring their real guns.

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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 16, 2013 at 2:34:14 pm

Fantastic! Made me laugh :-)

Just tell them that it is a requirement from the insurance that no guns appears. Also, that guns frowned up on in the overseas Television markets - that might help.

Just remember to frisk them , in case they've concealed the guns...

Good Luck.

All the Best

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid

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Todd TerryRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 16, 2013 at 5:11:33 pm

Obviously in that situation you'd need to insist they didn't bring real weapons, I doubt anyone would debate that. My biggest concern would be that even if told not to, that one of the over-enthusiastic guys would go a bit rogue and still be concealing anyway ("It's my gun, who's gonna know?").

You'll find out pretty quickly when Faux Bigfoot makes an appearance.

To save time I'd pre-dial 9-1-1.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Chuck PullenRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 16, 2013 at 7:12:28 pm

It’s safe to assume they will “go rogue” and even if you are 100% sure they are unarmed, your “Bigfoot” may get a beating or worse from this group of I can only assume experienced hunters. It’s a funny concept, but I can see this going south REALLY fast!


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 16, 2013 at 11:25:49 pm

You may end up with great footage, a guy in a sweaty suit full of bullet holes, an arrest, and a lawsuit...good luck with it.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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Roger Van DuynRe: RE: Real guns on location
by on Sep 17, 2013 at 12:41:36 pm

Sounds like a disaster documentary in the making...


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Mike CohenRe: E: Real guns on location
by on Sep 24, 2013 at 12:12:14 am

If these are actual Bigfoot hunters perhaps they should trade their guns for some raw steaks and a big net. After searching for the elusive beast their whole lives it would be a shame to kill it.
Surprised guys in the woods = dead guy in a costume. Not good.

Rule of thumb...the answer is in the question.

Stay safe and behind the hunters.

Please report back that everyone is OK.

Mike Cohen

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