Prop specialist gives insight into how New Mexico movie shooting death could happen

SENOIA, Ga. — A local prop gun specialist who trains actors on how to use guns is giving insight into how an accident on a movie set led to the shooting death of a film worker.

For Matt Clanton, the news that actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set hit close to home.

“My reaction is, ‘it’s tragic.’ Any kind of loss of life like that is tragic,” Clanton said.

He runs a business in Griffin, Georgia called Act Tactical, which trains actors how to use guns safely.

“It is a big machine with a lot of moving parts when you’re on set and things do get mixed up and that’s why I tell the actors if someone hands them a gun and says, ‘Don’t worry it’s clear, have the prop master show you that it’s clear, confirm it,” Clanton said.

He told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon that the guns used on set are sometimes props and sometimes real.


“It will usually be something like an airsoft gun that shoots BBs, maybe, that’s been disabled or a real gun that’s been disabled by a professional so it can look real on camera,” Clanton said.

A Georgia film worker that Channel 2 also spoke with told Wilfon that prop guns are often test-fired before being brought on set.

The film workers’ union, which also represents thousands of workers in Georgia, said this in a statement about the New Mexico shooting: “The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event.”

“A lot of these things can be avoidable. But at the end of the day, people are human and mistakes get made,” Clanton said.

The film worker told Wilfon that guns on his set are typically test-fired three times before being brought on set in Georgia because even blanks can fire projectiles.