Anyone ever get in trouble for using fake guns while shooting a film? at

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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 7th, 2004, 10:51 PM   #1
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Anyone ever get in trouble for using fake guns while shooting a film?

Not in a major public area or anything...
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Old July 8th, 2004, 01:50 AM   #2
RED Code Chef
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Location: Holland
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There are numerous stories where people got into trouble. At
least you should inform the local police that you will be shooting
a movie from this time to this time on those days and it will involve
fake firearms.

I would also have some people standing by on a perimiter to
look out for any trouble and talk to people who might have
questions about what is going on. Perhaps putting up a sign
is a good idea as well. You might even be able to get some
local cops on the set.

Rob Lohman,
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Old July 8th, 2004, 06:46 AM   #3
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I used to organize one of the largest airsoft games in the country. We'd have 100 players with guns that are used in some feature films and they look very, very real.

One difference is we did this on my personal property in the country about five minutes from a small town. Although I served lunch, some of these guys went into town to eat wearing military style camo, communications and other gear. They, too, looked very real.

But they were "professional" about it. They knew better than to drive in with their weapons.

The day before the game I drove into town and talked to the dispatcher. Told her who, what, where, when, why and how. She was very friendly and appreciated my letting her know. Once, the chief happened by and she introduced him to me.

Next, I called the county sheriff since they didn't have a nearby station. When I filled my car with gas, a local cop was parked there and I told him about it, too.

My event lasts for three days with players from all over the country. Not once did I hear from anyone.

I don't see why it would be any different in a more urban area. I can see a problem walking into the closest station and talking to a tired cop who doesn't want to mess with you and all the "potential problems".

Maybe it's my age but I just don't have any problems dealing with them. You shouldn't approach it as asking permission so much as informing them of what you are doing. It's easier for them to say no.

I wouldn't tell them about it until the day before at the earliest. Preferably, the day of. Any earlier and someone will forget. But make sure you tell the dispatcher! She'll be the first to get a call from a citizen or on duty cop.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 08:58 AM   #4
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The Robs are right about alerting the authorities. It probably wouldn't hurt to hire an off-duty police officer as set security, especially if you are shooting on urban streets.

In larger areas, there is probably more than one agency patrolling the streets such as a Sherrif's Office, Police Department, Municipal Departments, College Police, etc. Make sure that your call to the Complaint Desk, where the 911 calls are received, cover all of the local entities.

Also, in this day and age, you do not want a "Good Samaritan" coming to the rescue with his or her "real" gun thinking that they have come up on a real situation and take matters into their own hands.

You may also want to have someone dedicated as a gun wrangler so that your actors do not have to walk around with guns when not actually filming.

Good luck, RB.
"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 10:44 AM   #5
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Location: Vancouver, B.C.
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It doesn't hurt to talk to the police and your local film bureau. Listen to what the others have said.

The general rule is, if the guns can be seen from the outside, even through a window, then you must explore getting permits and talking to the police. I've known someone who was put in handcuffs because he and his crew were rehearsing inside their house when a neighbour saw them with 'guns' through a window.

Yes, it is expensive to go the permit / cop route, but think of the expense for you if your production is shut down because of an incident or because the police were not informed and want to make an example of you. The people you are working with will be angry at having wasted their money, possibly getting their eq impounded, or even being arrested.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 11:56 AM   #6
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Location: San Mateo, CA
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True Story,

A friends son and his buddy were shooting a video (vhs) when they were 15 years old. Out in a vacant lot, where the "spy" confronts the "agent"... they had a fight, and my friend's son was "shot" by the agent. Using a cap pistol.

No one around for over a hundred yards.

Next day, a police officer shows up at my friends house. Seems a woman in a house well over a hundred yards away, saw the "altercation" and called the police. (Both boys are close to six feet tall).

The boys had left before te police showed up. But in the "fight' my friends sons school id had fallen out of his trenchocoat pocket.

The police were investigating a homicide. It took showing the video to prove all was on the up and up.

So yeah, it happens. I could tell you more, but take my word, and this situation seriously.
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