Gallery of Dads Pointing Guns at Daughters’ Prom Dates Is Confusing

Gallery of Dads Pointing Guns at Daughters’ Prom Dates Is Confusing

Zach Rosenberg can’t tell if he’s supposed to laugh or cringe at a series of online photos showing fathers aiming guns at their daughter’s prom dates.

Okay, I get it. Fathers are the protectors of their daughters, and so when a boy comes to pick them up for prom, the totally rational, logical, and hilarious thing to do is to get out your gun and take a photo that says—in its worth of 1,000 words—“If this boy touches my daughter, I’m going to shoot him.”

So, Bossip, “the premier destination for African-American and Black celebrity gossip, Black reality shows, pop culture and entertainment news” (their words, not mine), ran a gallery of armed dads posing with their daughters and the daughters’ prom dates. And what you see next, as Upworthy would say, will change your life. Or not.

But here’s my real question: Is this funny? Or are we too judgy?

Everything about these photos screams “Huntin’ Country, USA.” I’d be surprised if any of these photos came from anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon and west of the Mississippi, except for the one photo we know was taken as far west as Arizona and as far east as Texas because of the rock-lawn. So, is this a Southern dad thing? Is this like the purity ball‘s funny cousin?

And yeah, I’m going to go here: by the time you make it to the photo of the white dad pointing the gun at the Black prom date (with his finger actually ON the trigger), this whole gallery feels even more uncomfortable.Gallery of Dads Pointing Guns at Daughters’ Prom Dates Is Confusing

So, that happened. Cough.

But on the other hand of all of this—I’m not the daughter, not the dad, and not the prom date. I’m not even the prom date’s family. I mean, I’ve got a son, so someday, maybe I will be. But right now, I’m just a guy on the internet, looking at a collection of photos. I don’t know how well these dads parent. I know that they’re there, which is a good first step. I know that they obviously care about their daughters—who they’re with and where they go, so that’s good too. Do I necessarily agree with pointing a gun at someone (or near someone?) without the intention of killing them? Absolutely not. But I’m also not from Huntin’ Country, USA. This might just be their version of us Californians posing with our quinoa salads and juice cleanse kits.

So like I said in the opening line (which seemed like forever ago, amirite?)—I get it. I think the image of the shotgun-toting dad thing has got to change… but in a weird way, I get it.

Do you get it? Is this funny? Is this a non-issue? Have you been in a photo like this (and if so, where are you from)? Let me know in the comments.


Originally appeared on; Images courtesy of 8BitDad

About Zach Rosenberg

Zach Rosenberg is a husband and father living in Southern California. He is co-founder of
fatherhood news site, and a contributor to You can also find him on Twitter @zjrosenberg.


  1. No, I don’t think photos like these are funny. I think they’re racist, sexist and scary.
    On the other hand, I do think it’s a bit funny to look at these photos and imagine what they are thinking.
    Guy with gun: “I look so manly here.”
    Girl: “My dad is so lame.”
    Boy: “Okay, take the high road. Just smile and soon we cand
    Just look at that poor girl’s eyes. It looks like she’s smiling for the camera, but cringing inside.

  2. OirishM says:

    I’ve never been in the same postcode as a gun in my life – and even I know you shouldn’t point guns at people for a lol.

  3. I love guns and I love my daughter. That said, these pics are trashy.

  4. wellokaythen says:

    I don’t own a gun and am not up on gun laws, so maybe someone can help me out here.

    Aren’t these technically photographs of a gun crime?

    Isn’t pointing a gun at someone as a joke against the law? Yes, he’s on your property, but he was invited there….

  5. This is awful.
    These men shouldn’t be allowed to own firearms if they cannot follow the basic rules of gun safety.
    Only an absolute idiot would point a firearm at someone as a joke.

  6. I get it. And it is just plain wrong. Every basic firearms course emphasizes to treat every gun as if it is loaded. A real gun is not a prop: it is a gun capable of killing someone.

    I have taught my children that wherever you are, the instant someone takes out a gun, you leave. I would expect nothing different here. I would expect my son to see the gun and respond by saying “Prom is off.”

    At its best the behavior is irresponsible. At its worst, it is dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. Children die on prom night from drugs, alcohol, motor vehicle accidents. We do not need to add semi-automatic weapon fire to the list.

  7. Absolutely not funny. As a responsible gun owner I take gun safety extremely seriously, and this pisses me off. Firearms are not props. You don’t point them at people just to be funny for the cameras. You point a shotgun or SMG at someone for laughs. You have to treat them like they’re always loaded and only point them when and if you’re ready to use them. Even when you’re cleaning one, you don’t even point an empty barrel in someone’s direction.

    Read the local police blotter in your town and see all the numbskulls explaining to the cops “I didn’t know it was loaded” or “I was just playing around.”

  8. The philosophy at my house is…no need for dads to point a gun. Just have your daughter cleaning said weapon when the boy arrives. No pointing. No male ownership here. Just implies that my girl can take care of herself.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Exactly. And besides, moms are just as capable of violence as dads are….

    • Much better message, and far less dangerous. Also shows the date that the girl is patient, focused, knowledgeable about firearms, and her gun is not likely to jam. Polishing a scope and some night-vision equipment really drives it home — I will find you….

  9. Whoa. Are these a representative sample of the photos? Hard to ignore the possible racist undertones. I can’t help but notice it’s white dads and nonwhite prom dates. This is getting into Birth of a Nation/”lily white flesh” territory here.

    It’s been a long time since my high school prom, but I remember very clearly that the girls could be just as dangerous as the boys. As a girl, I was more likely to land my date in jail than him get me into trouble.

    • Anonymous says:

      It isn’t representative at all, but it calls into question why the original author only chose one race to focus on.

      • These aren’t racially representative of the pics on Bossip, but these two are the only ones where the young men have the guns pointed directly at them (and therefore imo look more threatening – don’t know if that’s why they may have been chosen). That said, they’re all pretty moronic. If any of those young men was my son, I would have serious reservations about them going out with that girl because her father clearly doesn’t respect guns. I am a relatively new hunter and plan to conceal carry at some point, but this is just irresponsible.

  10. Michelle says:

    If my son was the prom date with the gun pointed at him, I would flip out on somebody. I know this whole territorial dad thing is supposed to be funny, but only idiots point real weapons at real people as a joke.

  11. While I understand the premise of the photos, especially since I have a 16 year-old daughter. You never point a gun at someone unless you mean to do them harm. Not even as a joke. This was and is a major rule that was drilled into me at a very young age. Growing up in western South Dakota, and being around guns my whole life.
    My opinion, the photos just send the wrong message. . .

  12. Don’t sweat not getting it. I was born and raised in Texas, and apparently I’m still not redneck enough to be in on the joke. Maybe it’s because I’m a paramedic and I stopped finding kids with bullet holes in them funny a long time ago, I don’t know. But last I checked, a firearm was a tool used for self defense and/or hunting, not a toy to be shoved in the face of teenage boys simply because you insecure with your own abilities and shortcomings as a parent.

  13. If you have a sense of humor – you laugh.

    If you are looking to be upset at everything – you cringe.

    If you choose to capitalize the word black in the same sentence as the word white – you show obvious bias and an agenda.

  14. Rachael Wierenga says:

    Idk I feel like this whole series is indicative of a bigger problem in this country, one where too many feel the right reasons for taking a life are as simple as “his music was too loud” or “he looked like a thug”. And I feel like each of these men proved in these pictures they’re not responsible enough to own a gun.

  15. Frances Locke says:

    As someone from “Huntin’s Country, USA” (and I don’t care what the other commenter says, I laughed at that) I think it’s SO not okay to point a gun at someone like this. My dad always taught me never to point a gun unless you intent to use it. They aren’t toys and they aren’t props.

    • In most of the households I knew had firearms, the girl didn’t need her dad to protect her. If she needed armed protection she was usually capable of providing it herself. In some cases, it’d be more likely the dad trying to take the gun away from the daughter before she used it. Not any better, you’re still not supposed to shoot someone just because you’re angry, just saying it’s rarely an innocent girl protected by the strapping manly dad.

  16. Try all of Michigan. Though yes, Northern Michigan and the UP are basically a National Geographic special. But Traverse City doesn’t count.

    • I’d tell you where we go in the summer but I’d lose my anonymity. Let’s just say M22 is a little slice of heaven and sleeping bear is a heck of a climb!

  17. I think it’s significantly less creepy than the purity ball pictures. That being said, the problem (for me) lies in the fact that in each set of pictures (and of those similar), it’s still a patriarchal figure staking claim to a young woman. The troubling similarity is that the young women seemingly have no say about being passed from one man to another as a possession.

    • This. x1000.

    • This x1000 for sure. Patriarchy at it’s “best”.

      • If a Dad poking fun at his protective feelings for his daughter coming into conflict with his daughter’s entry into adulthood is “Patriarchy” then lets have more of it. Parents are supposed to feel protective of their children and, as a parent, one feels a conflict as the “fledgelings” leave the nest.

        I have a feeling the prior 3 commentators are either young, do not have children, and/or have little to no understanding of cultures beyond their own.

        • CW,
          I’d like to address the 3 presumptions you made about me, to help you understand me better. I’m not sure what your definition of young is, but I’m 33 years old. You’re correct, I am without children at this point in my life. I don’t feel that makes my opinions on this less valid, although I’m certain you feel differently. The incorrect presumption you made regarding my understanding of other cultures is truly insulting. You have no idea of my upbringing (in rural Indiana, for the record, with a gun-loving and gun-respecting family). I am pro-gun, albeit safely. The number 1 safety rule that was drilled into my head was to NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES point a gun at anyone without the intent to shoot them. Additionally, I would like to assure you that I have two loving parents, and that I always did, and still do, feel protected by them. That feeling came from their presence, and their verbal and non-verbal assurances. It was not necessary for my father to (with no regard to safety or responsibility, not to mention respect to another human being) “jokingly” point a gun at any of my dates. He raised me to be responsible and intelligent enough that he trusted my instincts and good judgment about who I spent my time with. I appreciate your insights into my life, but perhaps asking questions would be a better starting point than making presumptions about strangers on the internet. Have a blessed day.

          • The “patriarchal figure” comment was a dead giveaway for your lack of children and your age. You basically confirmed my conclusions- thanks. 2 out of three aren’t bad.

            You and I are on the same page as far as gun safety goes.

            • CW,

              No, the patriarchal comment comes from an ages-old belief that I disagree with, namely that a woman is the possession of her father, to be given away to someone (another man) that he deems acceptable. I assure you we are not possessions, nor will my husband and I raise our children to believe that girls and women are possessions.

              I’m not sure we do share the same page on gun safety, if you think that these photos are in any way funny or appropriate.

              In any case, live and let live. Have a good afternoon!

  18. The pictures are basically men poking fun at the fact their protective instincts for their daughters are in conflict with the fact their daughters are growing up. I agree that the guy pointing the Thompson at the kid is not being smart- finger on trigger and actually pointing a weapon in that direction is dumb.

    However, the whole “Huntin Country” = ignorant = the South crap is pretty freaking terrible. Lots of people live outside the urban coastal areas. Northern Michigan, Montana, and Central PA might blow your mind.

    • You’re absolutely correct. I didn’t mean to suggest that everyone in the South is ignorant, by calling it “huntin’ country” – and certainly didn’t say that anyone WAS ignorant. I asked if I’m just not in on the joke because I’m from California, where we take more pictures of our food than anything. I just didn’t know if this sort of “okay to point a gun” thing was in fact a thing in the areas more apt to hunting.

      Anyway, thanks for reading. I take all comments constructively. I’ve been to Northern Michigan (Traverse City), and you’re right, it did blow my mind. It’s a whole different world than Detroit.

      • I don’t find anything confusing here. Except for your childish and entitled attitude. These photos are meant as jokes. Sure, they’re really lame jokes, perhaps not the quinoa salad type you’re used to, but the obvious intention is that of humor. What I do find confusing is why your article is posted in a forum promoting Good Men. Your perspective is that of complete superiority. I live in LA. There are plenty of, what you refer to as Huntin Country folk here too. They’re in NYC. Seattle. London. Everywhere. Bigotry comes in many forms and resides in all places. Your article is condescending.

      • Sorry about the derail. The misperceptions some people who participate here have about flyover country would be borderline hilarious if they weren’t so tragic. There have been some doozies; especially when gun control gets involved. By the way, We take pictures of our food too- of course mine involve a smoker and pork shoulders.

        You and I are in 100% agreement about the stupidity of pointing a gun at someone. I just wish people would try to understand where people are coming from instead of screaming racismpAtriarchsouthrernmanbad!

        • N.C. Harrison says:

          I’m with you, I think. About the pork shoulders, first and foremost, but also about your latter point. The whole thing is sort of a corny joke to begin with–mildly amusing at best to a certain group of people–but a huge swath of the internet has come to feel like a gigantic cover band that only ever plays Neil Young’s “Southern Man.” I do wish they’d switch over to “Heart of Gold,” “Cinnamon Girl” or “Cowgirl in the Sand.” Heck, at this point even “Cortez the Killer” would be a welcome change of pace.

          • “By the way, We take pictures of our food too- of course mine involve a smoker and pork shoulders.” Well hot damn, aint that the truth? Just got me one of them smokers …. makes hellofagood ribs too.

    • As a native Southerner, I grew up around this kind of mentality. It’s not funny. I’m assuming the guns are not loaded, but can you imagine if they were and there was an accident? No one should be pointing a gun at anyone, especially someone else’s child. Even worse, their mothers are probably the ones taking the photo.

      • N.C. Harrison says:

        Indeed… the thing that makes me not cringe but look in alarm is the basic ignorance of gun safety present in these photos. My hunting enthusiast great-grandfather (not in the sense of sport, but in the sense that he was so poor he had to live off the land) would have had kittens if he saw someone doing this. He always said to never point a gun at anything you didn’t intend to kill.

    • CW, your, what is essentially, whining about the author calling the South out for its repeated history of racism, bigotry and plain idiocy is just as just as white people complaining about “Reverse racism”, for which I feel this:

      • Considering there are millions of people living there it is the height of ignorance to cast aspersions upon all of them. Generalizing is wrong- is it not?. I cast aspersions on individuals who earn them through their words and actions.

        Though there may not be the same weight to the phrase “Southerners are…” As there is to the phrase “Blacks are…” Id rather not be an ignorant hypocrite who pats myself on the back for being less bigoted than other bigots. I strive to be non-bigoted.

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