Prop Firearm Movie Set

Private security stand at the entrance of the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities were investigating. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- A deadly accident on a movie set in New Mexico is sending shockwaves through the film industry.

Alec Baldwin, co-producer and star of the movie Rust, discharged a prop firearm Thursday, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office. It resulted in the death of the movie's cinematographer, 42-year-old Halyna Hutchines. Director Joel Souza, 48, was also struck and injured.

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While authorities investigate what happened, people who work with guns on movie sets say there are protocols and procedures in place to avoid accidents.

"The tragedy is uncalled for and very sad for our industry," said John Sanders, a property master in Atlanta who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years. Part of his job is overseeing the handling of guns when they are on set.

"We have a safety meeting with everybody to discuss what we’re doing and especially when there are weapons, there are special meetings about weapons, there are special precautions, checks," he said.

The checklist includes giving multiple people the option of checking the gun and going through rehearsals. Real bullets are never allowed on set.

"We check the weapon, clean the weapon, test the weapon, then we take it to the set, we show the first AD, the key grip, the director of photography, the camera people and anybody in the line of sight of that weapon," said Sanders. "Actors certainly would check the weapon before they would be handed the weapon and they would be shown how to use the weapon, what the weapon is, what the load and charge in the weapon is going to be and how that’s going to be used.”

A variety of guns can be used on sets, according to Bob Shelley, a special effects coordinator and armorer who owns Bob Shelley's Special Effects in Fayetteville. Part of his job includes supplying prop guns to productions.

"Majority of the weapons used in the movies today are real weapons that have been designed to fire blanks," said Shelley.

He said productions can also use rubber guns, replicas and blank firing weapons.

"You don’t want accidents, unfortunately they happen, an accident does happen," he said

Part of the investigation in New Mexico is looking into what kind of projective was discharged from the prop gun.

Sanders said, "I don’t want people to think this is what happens, that that business is unsafe, that weapons are unsafe. The people that handle weapons professionally in the business are professionals at what they do, they would never allow something like this tragedy to happen and that’s why it's unbelievably rare.”

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