A new report submitted to special prosecutors states that the gun involved must have been actually fired for it to have gone off.
In April, involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin were dropped by the New Mexico District Attorney. Baldwin pleaded not guilty to the charges and has repeatedly insisted he did not pull the trigger on the gun, which discharged a live round and fatally wounded Hutchins, and injured director Joel Souza.
The film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, also was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. According to a new firearms report -- submitted as part of a new motion filed by Gutierrez-Reed's attorneys in her ongoing court case -- claims that it would it would not have been possible for the gun to have gone off without Baldwin having pulled the trigger.
"Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver," states the firearms report, which was prepared for the special prosecutors by an Arizona-based forensic firearms examiner.
According to the docs, "If the hammer had not been fully retracted to the rear, and were to slip from the handler's thumb without the trigger depressed, the half-cock or quarter-cock notches in the hammer should have prevented the firing pin from reaching any cartridge in the firing chamber."
"If these features were somehow bypassed, a conspicuously off-center firing pin impression would result," the firearms report claims.
According to the findings of the new report, "From an examination of the fired cartridge case and the operationally restored evidence revolver, this 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."
Baldwin's attorney had previously stated that the revolver had been modified before the actor handled the weapon, and thus could have led to it being fired accidentally. The new firearms report claims that no modifications had actually been made.
Instead, the gun had been damaged during testing conducted by the FBI, according to the report, and when repaired to the condition it was in when the shooting occurred, it did not appear that any modifications had been done that could have caused it to fire without the trigger being depressed.
"The only conceivable alternative... would be a situation in which the trigger was already pulled or held rearward while retracting the hammer to its full cock position," the report adds. "Although unlikely and totally contrary to the normal operation of these single action revolvers, such improper handling, would result in the discharge of a live cartridge."
ET has reached out to Baldwin's reps for comment on the new report.
In June, New Mexico prosecutors stated that, if it was determined that the gun was in proper working condition when it discharged, they could file charges again against the actor.
"If it is determined that the gun did not malfunction, charges against Mr. Baldwin will proceed," Special Prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said in a statement to Variety at the time. It's unclear at this time whether or not they will elect to do so in light of this new firearms report.
For more on the Rust shooting and Baldwin's legal troubles stemming from the tragic incident, see the video below.