Remember—I have a Bachelor of Science in Theatre, Communication, and Youth Studies.
Therefore, the fact that this is a photo of a stage prop should resonate loudly. This prop portrays a great level of respect between a stage manager, actor(s), and director. The stage manager stores and keeps the prop safe at all times when not in use during a scene. This includes during a rehearsal, and during dark times. This is usually done by means of a lock box or gun cabinet, depending on weapons used and facilities available.
Next, the transfer of trust occurs when the prop weapon is handed from the stage manager or weapon master to the actor that will be handling the prop. It is a prop; it is a tool for performance, and must be treated with due respect. That hand-off entails that the gun is in safe working order, if any blank ammunition is loaded, the assurance that the blanks are proper minimum strength for the necessary use, and that the prop master/stage manager will be available immediately upon completion of the scene to retrieve the weapon to ensure it’s return to safe keeping.
Theatre is a work space. It is a place for enjoyment by the audience, but it by means of hard work and dedication by professionals who have trained and prepared for an emotionally trying presentation. Using a weapon—especially a firearm—on stage delivers powerful scenes with deep emotional impact. Does the audience see the thread of trust the exists from the unlocking of the lock box, to the hand-off to the actor, the return to the weapon master, and the locking of storage again? They’re not supposed to, but it is the ultimate trust endowed on any team.
Please visit Weapons of Choice for an example of the wide selection of props used to represent a long history of weapons use on stage.