"Rust" actor Douglas Stewart is adamant about who's in charge of firearms on film sets, and says Alec Baldwin's getting a raw deal ... because actors are not typically responsible for gun safety.
Douglas shared his thoughts Friday on "TMZ Live" about the announcement Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the "Rust" set.
Douglas says whenever he's been on a set with guns there have been strict procedures in place -- procedures that clearly state a stage manager or armorer is responsible for preparing and handing guns to actors.
As an actor, he says he's never been allowed to check a gun or open the chamber ... whether for TV, film, or stage play.
Most importantly, Douglas also says that's the industry standard -- that actors trust the professionals when it comes to firearms.
If so, that could become a crucial part of Baldwin's defense, should his case go to trial.
As for Baldwin's role as an executive producer ... Douglas says his understanding is that he was not involved in safety or day-to-day production in a hands-on way -- instead, he thinks Baldwin's title was more about finances and his compensation.
Douglas also told us the charges against Alec won't change his approach on film sets -- he still won't take it upon himself to check a weapon, but will ask the armorer to double-check in front of him.
He says he simply has no choice, but to be super cautious.
The filming of "Rust" with AB and the rest of the cast is set to resume this month with Halyna's widower Matt Hutchins now listed as an EP -- one of the terms of the settlement of his wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin.