The citizens of Broken Bow, Nebraska have spoken and their voices will be heard: Any teen graduating from the town's high school will be allowed to pose with a gun on their shoulder, their lap, or swinging nonchalantly from one arm like a fashion accessory. The only catch? The photo has to be appropriate.
What's appropriate to the denizens of Broken Bow? Well, the school board (which voted to allow guns 6-0) has created a policy, which includes rules about students brandishing their guns menacingly (no!) and bringing dead animals that their guns have shot to the studio (Yes! But only if the animal is not in visible distress! No distressed dead animals allowed! Only happy peaceful animals shot by a high school senior!). Other than that, the rules seem pretty open and I'm guessing that the district has some safeties in place (taking photos without the gun just in case?) to make sure that all photos show the students off in their best light.
Broken Bow is a rural town and boasts approximately 3,500 residents, many of whom enjoy shooting for food and for sport, and on some level it's understandable that students would want to bring their guns (which they probably give names because that is what I would do) to their photo shoot. However, with incidences of school shootings being reported more and more often, is it wise to allow teens to bring guns to these shoots? The policy has prohibited the depiction of firearms in the past because of this very issue.
Officials are clear to point out that all photos will be considered on an individual basis and that just because guns are allowed now, sex, drugs and rock and roll are still most certainly prohibited. And if you want to wear your gun with a mini skirt? Well, that may pose some problems, as the Omaha World-Herald reports:
School board member Matthew Haumont, a Nebraska hunter education instructor who has enjoyed the shooting sports all his life, said he wants the photos to be respectful of the shooting sports and not be offensive.
"So we're going to have to take these as a case-by-case basis," he said. "But I think that goes with any photo, whether it's a scantily clad girl or something like that."
Hear that, graduating senior dudes? This is your chance to show the world what's what by putting on a thong or a tank top ripped at the nipple (because that is a thing) for your senior picture. Graduation senior ladies? Bring your gun, but also cover up your dirty pillows.
Other schools in the area do not allow firearms to be featured in photos, but the photographer who will shoot the senior portraits doesn't have any qualms about letting the kids into his studio with their rifles and semiautomatics (which, wait, is there a rule about the type of gun one can use?) as long as they're unloaded. And advocacy groups that oppose gun violence are not concerned, unless the guns will be brought onto school property.
Comments from readers of the original story on Omaha.com are overwhelmingly positive, with some readers delighted that the town is holding up the second amendment and others happy that Broken Bow's culture of shooting and trapping (Can the kids bring knives, too?) will be honored and respected. One reader asked whether the response would be similar had the article's photo featured a minority teen as opposed to the all-American cheerleader type pictured, but it's unlikely she has to worry: Broken Bow's residents are primarily white (making up 95.7 percent of the population). No one has commented on what a tasteful pose would be. I'm thinking slung off the shoulder casually? Like a 90s model walking down a runway with one of those Stella McCartney chain mail purses. WAIT, CAN I BRING CHAIN MAIL? Who am I kidding? In high school, I would have posed with a copy of The Bell Jar.
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