Firearms experts like Dave Brown argue that intense safety protocols make firearms “as safe as any other prop on set” and that “blanks help contribute to the authenticity of a scene in ways that cannot be achieved in any other manner.” Filmmakers like Stahelski, however, argue that a mix of electronic plug guns and CG effects have been able to replace the use of blanks on film sets and “that there’s no reason to have a live firearm on set.” In a THR interview, he goes on to argue that the reason why blanks are still in existence is to save costs:
“…for prop houses, armorers or supply houses to switch over, it would make their entire stock of real firearms useless. It comes down to the fact that it would cost certain people a great deal of money to switch over. No one wants to say that, but that’s the real reason. You don’t need firearms. The alternative is just going to cost you more money.”
Producer Anna Halberg likewise stated that “It’s oftentimes easier and more economical to actually discharge your weapon on set using a blank than it is to add a gun in CGI in post-production.” Like other accidental on-set shootings in Hollywood history, the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” caused a reassessment of the way the film industry handles firearms safety. Craig Zobel, director of the HBO series “Mare of Easttown,” tweeted that blanks “should be fully outlawed,” and showrunners like Alexi Hawley of ABC’s “The Rookie” and Eric Kripke of Amazon’s “The Boys” have pledged to switch to CG muzzle flashes. The debate rages on, but considering how many guns are in the “John Wick” movies, Stahelski presents a strong argument for firearms abstinence.