Apple quashes rifle Emoji

“Unicode, the technical organization in charge of selecting and overseeing emojis, debated and ultimately decided to remove a rifle from its list of new emoji candidates in 2016, according to multiple persons who attended its quarterly meeting last May,” Charlie Warzel reports for BuzzFeed News. “The decision was led and championed by one of tech’s biggest companies: Apple.”

“According to sources in the room, Apple started the discussion to remove the rifle emoji, which had already passed into the encoding process for the Unicode 9.0 release this June. Apple told the consortium it would not support a rifle on its platforms and asked for it not to be made into an emoji,” Warzel reports. “The other candidate the consortium rejected during the meeting was ‘modern pentathlon,’ which depicts a man firing a pistol… The rifle appeared to be part of a set of Olympics-themed emojis (rifle shooting is an Olympic sport), intended to coincide with this year’s games in Rio, alongside emojis like ‘gymnastics,’ ‘handball,’ ‘water polo,’ ‘person doing cartwheel,’ and a series of gold, silver, and bronze medals. An archived page of 2016 emoji candidates on Unicode’s website included the rifle as recently as April 11 of this year and showed three different versions of the gun, including one with a scope and multiple colors. The archived Unicode page describes the different possible use cases for the rifle as ‘marksmanship,’ ‘sport shooting,’ and ‘hunting.'”

A few proposed glyphs of the “rifle” emoji. (via Unicode)
A few proposed glyphs of the “rifle” emoji. (via Unicode)

“While Unicode’s rifle debate is a far cry from any actual policy discussion, regulating emojis based on their potential controversy is further evidence of the broad, unexpected influence of tech’s biggest companies. Many inside Unicode disagree that emoji rises to the level of an emerging language, but there’s little debate that it has quickly become a meaningful, global form of expression and communication. And Unicode, which includes Apple, Google, and Microsoft among its voting members, is in the precarious position of governing emoji’s evolution. For those wary of Big Tech’s outsize power, this is another troubling example,” Warzel reports. “Gun control issues aside, the rifle debate and the middle finger emoji backlash highlight one of Unicode’s enduring tensions: that this highly technical group has unexpectedly been tasked with building what some see as the first digital universal language.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Apple iOS emoji
Two examples of current emoji available on Apple’s iOS and Mac platforms


    1. Hear Hear!

      I’m the first to point out that the USA is gun maniacal compared to much of the rest of the world.

      However, this is a ridiculous response to the loon level of gun violence in the USA. The sight of a gun is offensive to anyone? The actual point of the creation and use of guns has nothing to do with mass murders.

      As with the idiotic ‘War on drugs’, the problem isn’t the method of killing, it’s the MOTIVATION for killing, either one’s self or others. That fact is apparently too complicated for mankind at our current primitive stage (IMHO) of evolution.

      Nukes are real. Guns are real. Action to take: Stop all motivation to use them for the purpose of killing fellow members of our species.

      And please don’t read ANYTHING into what I stated beyond exactly what I actually stated. I’m sick of obtuse tangential flame warz.

      1. Agreed it’s silly to hide pictures.

        The motivation for killing, not the method, is indeed the problem. NO MOTIVE, NO CRIME. Regardless of weapon availability. You’re correct there.

        That fact is however NOT too complicated for our primitive species, as you sarcastically stated. I daresay it is obvious. — Is it not obvious that the emotion of the triggerman, not the trigger, is the problem, and that we focus on the trigger to deflect attention from the triggerman for some reason?

        I’m trying not to read anything into what you said, but to read something out. I hope I’m close to what you meant.

        Your proposed “action to take” is to stop motivation for killing. This is nothing less than a call to alter human nature. In the short run this is clearly unrealistic. In the long run, one might establish a social utopia to eliminate want and caste, but competition for mates and status would still undermine it. Is genetic engineering, or social conditioning, the answer? Neither one of us really believes that.

        On the face of it, what you say is that weapons exist, the motivation to use them exists, and that only the second kind of existence is really changeable. One can only wish.

        1. …that we focus on the trigger to deflect attention from the triggerman for some reason?

          I’m not a psychologist, but I’m constantly shoved into the position of having to learn about human psychology in order to figure out why we’re all individually deranged. One of my pet phrases is that we humans are capable of believing almost anything to be ‘absolutely true’, with most dire of consequences. I’m most concerned about us killing one another over what amounts to be conflicts of imagination.

          The ‘call to alter human nature’ itself conjures up lots of scary sci-fi stories, eugenics, the borg, human cloning, cryogenically preserved heads, ‘This Perfect Day’, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and other scary concepts of monoculture. Another of my phrases is that there is no such thing as a viable monoculture. Another is that diversity rules. Both of us believe that.

          At this point in my ‘god school’ education, I champion creativity and giving children childhoods that foster self-esteem and self-realization. Without those things, as people reach adulthood they head down the low roads of self-destruction and turning that destruction outward at others. Pow pow pow.

          – – It’s so great to chat with you. Stay well friend.

      2. There is a word for it: Denial.
        Ban the car pictures too, too many accidents and how about that woman driving her ex off the bike!
        How about that devil now, man has he ruined my life!

  1. It’s too bad that Tim Cook is a typical touchy-feeling, illogical, easily-confused Dem/Lib/Prog.

    I’m so upset about Orlando and what went down but I can’t believe these people who come out afterward, and their answer to Orlando is to take away guns from the public. It’s f—ing mind-blowing to me.

    The military – and they don’t mean it as a derogatory statement – but they look at the public as sheep. And think about it. We are sheep. Most of us sit around all day. We don’t know how to defend ourselves. We are in a flock. And we basically think everything’s OK. Except the wolves, the bad guys – whether they be ISIS or terrorists, homegrown or otherwise, ISIL, Daesh, the common thug, whatever. They’re wolves. They look at them as wolves.

    The military and police look at themselves as sheep dogs. They’re warriors, but they’re on the good side. You know, they’re protecting us. …

    It’s such a perfect analogy. And people go, “Well, if we take away [the guns].” Now think about this, in France, they have the tightest gun-control laws on the planet. The terrorists all had AR-15s. They have Glocks. They have every kind of pistol. They’ve got missile launchers.

    Now let’s use the analogy of sheep. Now we’re all here. We’re sheep. We’re sitting here, “La, de, da, da, da. I’m gonna work hard. I love my family. Baaah!”

    Now let’s say I walked up to a sheep herd. And they know at night, every night the wolves pick off a couple of them. What if I went up to the sheep and said, “You want to have a shot at the wolves? I’m gonna give you a pistol. You can actually even the playing field with these wolves whose fangs are out – you could shoot them and save your family.” “Well, Baaah, we’re not gonna do that! We don’t want to fight ba-a-a-a-a-ck. He didn’t hurt us. He only hurt the family down the street. And the shepherds will protect us. The sheep dogs are out there. They’ll protect us.”

    Well, the sheep dogs are protecting you, but some of them can’t be with you. There’s not a sheep dog for every citizen, and a wolf is still eating one of you every night. “Baaah, I know what. Let’s remove all the guns from the sheep.” What? There’s an idea! Let’s take back all the guns from the people who might be willing to shoot the wolves.

    So then you go, wait a second. What if we had a completely gun-free zone?

    Now, I’m gonna tell you about the most gun-free zone on the planet. It happened during 9/11. It was on a plane. You know you can’t get a gun on a plane. It’s completely gun free. So what did the wolves do? They said, “This is great! We’ll just kill the sheep with box cutters.” They went on the plane with box cutters, and all the sheep went, “Baaah!”

    Now if there had been an Air Marshal on that plane, a whole f—ing other thing would have gone down. There wouldn’t have been any 9/11.

    See, the wolves are always plotting. They’ll use box cutters. They’ll use an airplane and fly it right into a building. They don’t need AR-15s.

    Nazi Germany – which, by the way, didn’t happen 1,000 years ago – it happened within my dad’s lifetime. It’s not that long ago. Can you imagine if the Jews, at least when the Nazis were banging on the door, if they had a couple of pistols and AR-15s to fight the Nazis? If Anne Frank’s father had a f—ing gun? Maybe at least he could have taken a few Nazis out.

    Now why would the sheep say, “Oh, we’ve got an answer to all of the terrorism, all these bad wolves that are coming after us. We’ll just hand in all our guns. We’re gonna hand them in. Baaah. You know who will protect us? The government, or the police.”

    That’s a bad f—ing idea!

    Now I don’t like violence. I don’t like any of this stuff, but I consider myself a sheep. And I want the police to protect me. I support the police. I want the government to protect me.

    But guess what? Most of your politicians all have private security. … So they’re OK. Those are sheep that are very well protected. You, on the other hand, you’re a sitting duck. If you’re a sitting duck, do you want a fighting chance or not? I don’t understand it.

    I’ll tell you the truth. I’m not real good at protecting [myself]. You can give me 5,000 guns. I wouldn’t be good at protecting myself. I’m just a sheep. I’ll admit it. But I’m not for taking away people’s rights.

    I think the answer doesn’t lie in taking any kind of ability of the sheep to protect themselves from the wolves. I really don’t. I wish it were that simple. In France, they’ve done it very effectively. The population is not armed, but unfortunately the wolves are… Listen, the kids at the Boston Marathon, they just made a bomb…

    The military takes orders from their commander in chief. You get a f—ing nutty commander in chief, and you’d better be armed. — Howard Stern, June 15, 2016

      1. Try for once to not to be overwhelmed beyond reason with your “feelings,” Lib, and try to follow the logic:

        France: Restrictive Gun Control. 130 dead, 352 injured as only the criminals (terrorists) had the guns in the Bataclan.

        Imposing laws to ban gun ownership means that only the law-abiding will be disarmed. The criminals (terrorists) are, by definition, unlawful. They will therefore be the only ones armed.

        There is a reason why, in the U.S., many of the worst mass shootings (Roseburg, Santa Monica, Newtown, Oakland, Dekalb, Blacksburg, Columbine, etc.) happen in so-called “GUN FREE ZONES.” That’s because the perpetrators know that they will be the ONLY ONES ARMED and they can therefore inflict maximum damage.

        Taking guns away from the lawful does not accomplish what we all hope to accomplish. Identifying threats (Islamic extremists, the mentally ill, etc.) and dealing with them BEFORE they go off is the ONLY LOGICAL WAY to accomplish what we all want to accomplish: The reduction of incidents of mass murder.

        Banning guns by law only affects the lawful — or, in other words, those with the capability of stopping these horrible incidents early, greatly limiting the loss of life — and DOES NOTHING but make the criminals’ (terrorists’) task easier by creating large groups of sitting ducks.

            1. Yeah, but democrats beat them to it. The progressive’s control of today’s so called institutions of higher learning is producing what is affectionately called “snowflakes” who demand “trigger” warnings (no really, ‘trigger’, coming from people who are so concerned about gun control).

            2. That’s right, conservatives don’t believe in science or education…for the masses. But your politicians themselves had daddy pay for their education. Like Tump says, he loves the uneducated

        1. When you START your argument with “touchy-feeling, illogical, easily-confused Dem/Lib/Prog” it’s hard to take anything else you say seriously. If you stopped with the silly name calling — who are you, Trump? — it’d be easier to engage with you, sir.

        2. Actually, the police and the army had guns, too.

          And, for the umpteenth time, no one wants to TAKE AWAY YOUR GUNS. But some common-sense limits are way overdue. How about eliminating magazines bigger than 10 rounds, forcing shooters to stop and reload. How about banning body armor for civilians?

          And how about basic licensing and registration — the same as with automobiles — to help catch criminals and wanna-be terrorists? Or am I being too touch-feely, illogical and easily confused for you??

          1. The “police and the army” come after the damage is done. They generally mop up the blood and take crime scene photos. Too late for the victims.

            The problems with your argument for smaller magazines (which is really just a plan to creep up slowly on gun control) are many.

            1. Criminals (terrorists) will get big magazines even if they are illegal since they DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW (as I explained above: criminals (terrorists) are, by definition, unlawful).

            2. It takes less time than you think to reload. Even a poorly trained criminal with limited firearm experience could likely drop a magazine and push in another one in only 2-5 seconds.

            3. Even if criminals were limited to the capacity of any given magazine they wouldn’t be limited to the number of firearms. Mass killing murders have shown that a common strategy for mass killing isn’t in having endless large magazines, it is in having multiple firearms. When one runs empty, they just pick up the next one and start shooting.

            4. Columbine High School: This mass killing took place during the 1994 federal ban and they went into that school without a single “high capacity magazine.” They just took turns reloading the large number of “low capacity magazines” they had on hand.

            The problem with your argument for “basic licensing and registration” (which is really just another plan to creep up slowly on gun control) is simple:

            It doesn’t work. In 2012 Canada scrapped its long-gun registry, after dumping an estimated $2 billion into it. It solved no crimes, it apparently prevented no crimes, and it took vast quantities of money and manpower away from law enforcement with its implementation.

            This is not an isolated incident. Something very similar occurred in New Zealand. They abandoned their long-gun registry in 1983.

            Extrapolate that to the U.S, where the overwhelming majority of gun owners believe the Second Amendment’s “shall not be infringed” clause actually means something. Our firearm pool is 40 times larger than Canada’s. There are an estimated 300 million firearms in private hands in the United States. Very few jurisdictions require firearm or even gun owner registration, so no one except the current owners know where the overwhelming majority of these guns are or who they belong to. Guns are durable items. Millions of guns from the 1800s still work fine. There are no records of their manufacture – the authorities wouldn’t even know where to even look. Compliance would be laughably low.

            Here’s the thing about Democrats vs. Republicans: Democrats fall in love with unworkable ideas that look good on paper or at first glance. Republicans are actually pragmatic, think things through as to how they would work in the real world, with real people in the equation, and will only go for ideas that adhere to the Constitution and actually have at least some chance of working.

            So, yes, you are being too touch-feely, illogical and easily confused for me.

        3. I’d be careful about throwing out numbers. Because the other side can refer to the number of innocent people killed by gun violence in the US, which I imagine would be much higher than the numbers you cited. I’m for gun ownership rights. By don’t hand the liberal left an easy victory by citing the number of dead in France. It’s not a winning argument.

          1. No numbers required. Paris is just one of many, many examples where strict gun control failed utterly to stop mass shootings or mass murder.

            It seems silly that I even have to state this, but we are talking to Dem/Lib/Progs here, so here it is in all of its obviousness:

            Mass murderers don’t follow laws, but they will use your silly laws to maximize the number of murders they can commit. The more “GUN FREE ZONES” you create, the more helpless lambs you line up for slaughter.

            1. Trouble is, the gun toting mass murder fruitcakes prefer soft targets – shoppers, parties, gays, school children, all of them innocent and not in any way interested in carrying guns. Explain…why do gun freaks ignore the fact that you are the minority imposing your gun rights on the vast majority both in the US and the world over that do not own guns, have no wish to own one and would on no account contenance killing another human being, in any situation. Don’t we also have rights based on our belief that to live a life without fear and violence, is perfectly reasonable given ‘we’ will not be shooting ‘you’. And please spare me the “you wait ’til there’s a gun in my face” mantra..the gun in my face wouldn’t happen with no guns at all; it’s a problem created by gun owners, not the victims.
              If you guys only targeted amongst yourselves, in your predefined killing arena, you’d have my full support of your rights to be a target, be threatened, live in fear of violence, kill and be killed…but no. You want us all to live in the same nightmare world because you refuse to accept controls that would protect the majority by protecting the rights of the asshole mass killers that ‘you’ can’t control. Instead of basic rights for the majority, you want more guns for the minority.
              Fsck that.

            2. As I wrote above: Here’s the thing about Democrats vs. Republicans: Democrats fall in love with unworkable ideas that look good on paper or at first glance. Republicans are actually pragmatic, think things through as to how they would work in the real world, with real people in the equation, and will only go for ideas that adhere to the Constitution and actually have at least some chance of working.

              Your dream of a utopia with prancing unicorns farting rainbows DOES NOT EXIST. As long as you continue to ignore reality, you’ll never come up with reasonable solutions to real life issues. You sound like a three-year-old who’s been watching way too much Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

              We get it: Most of us would like a perfect world. News Flash: That doesn’t exist on this planet.

              Adults should deal with reality. Take away guns and some humans will kill each other with pressure cookers, poison, butter knives – whatever they can get their hands on. In short: Get real, pajama boy, or STFU with your mollycoddled Obama-esque pablum and let the adults take care of this.

              Australians and disarmed citizens in other countries like China, North Korea, France, etc. are sitting ducks. They are a controlled populace. They are, in the end, doomed. (Until the USA saves them from themselves again, of course.)

              The reason for The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is to protect against oppressive government. The ability to shoot criminals and terrorists in the face is just a side benefit.

              The sooner you illogical gun control nuts figure that out, the better.

            3. You can’t use American logic with EU mentality.

              That’s your fault in the reasoning.

              And before you start saying everything: I live in EU (Italy, to be more precise), and let me tell you: Almost noone here would be OK with “no gun control”

    1. My, my. There are a lot of words in your post. Must be trying to prove a point.

      You prove a point with fewer words, not more.

      Oh, and go fuck yourself.

  2. emoji is a language and is fraught with all the pitfalls of any other system of symbols. There’s a knife edge – er, fine line – between expression and repression of certain inflammatory – er, controversial – concepts.

  3. Only an idiot would think that taking guns from law-adiding American would reduce terrorism ir violence in any way

    All the customers in Pulse were disarmed. How well did that work out?

    I feel soooo much safer that there will not be a rifle emoji. F’ing idiots.

    1. And get rid of the angry face emojis too. 😡 Someone might be offended and it might lead to violence. And the texting world won’t b a safe space anymore against micro-aggressions. 😉

  4. I’m going to agree with Apple on this one.
    Anyone using the rifle emoji is not going to be thinking of the Olympic games.
    Either way, the world is not going to be coming to an end on this issue.

    1. Tim is just taking his SJW stance to make the online world safe from the evil gun, while happily reaping in the profits of Apple computer sales used by Hollywood writers who are busy typing away on their next movie script that glorifies assault weapons that bring about death and carnage by their favorite actor/actress (who then go to lecture us on gun violence) to amuse and desensitize the brain dead masses who are entertained by that pap!

      Perhaps Apple needs another company name change from Apple, Inc. to Hypocrisy, Inc.

      1. Apple also advertises hundreds of movies on Apple Trailera where actors depict people murdering and maiming, shooting and stabbing, raping and pillaging. But Tim Cook gets his panties in bind for cartoon illustrations. What a self-righteous fool.

  5. This is beyond ridiculous. It is the silliest thing that Apple could possibly have done. It might be the silliest thing that Apple has ever done, next to the whole Confederate Flag nonsense.

    One thing I know, it is that mass murder is not about the weapons themselves, but about individual killers and individual circumstances. The mental illness that seizes a person consumed with racial hatred, is not the same as the anger and frustration that consumes a bullied high school student, or the viral ideology that radicalizes a religious zealot. And none of it has anything to do with guns, and acting as if removing a goddamn emoji will make any difference is just feckless.

    Its like mutant political correctness. It’s hard enough defending Tim Cook as it is. This makes him look like he’s sitting in his office and making balloon animals all day (except for any that look like guns of course.)

    You know, an attack similar to the one in Orlando was carried out against a gay club in New Orleans in 1973. It had a death toll of 33. Interestingly, not one bullet was fired. The killer used lighter fluid.

    One thing is for certain. Hate finds a way, and blaming guns is opportunistic and worse than shameful.

    The anti-gun lobby is not concerned with safety. That much is certain. It is left vs. right politics as usual. It’s ignore the facts, as usual. It’s lets be as irrational as possible, as usual.

    I ready the other day that the American Medical Association has declared gun violence to be a public health crisis. I just had to chuckle at this. Gun related homicides average around 11,000 per year. People dying from doctor errors and hospital errors are in the hundreds of thousands. I think they have their priorities bass-ackwards.

    1. Where, following the Boston Marathon Bombing, were the Dem/Lib/Progs demands for banning pressure cookers, nails, and ball bearings?

      Obama. He didn’t keep us safe. He just uses the victims to try to further his leftist agenda. Obama attacks strawmen, not terrorists. And Hillary Clinton would just be more of the same fecklessness and needless death.

      1. If you think Obama is a leftist, you’ve clearly never met a leftist.

        And you don’t think non-gun terrorist acts get a response? After 9/11, they FINALLY changed the rules to secure cockpit doors (the airlines had fought that rule for years to save weight). One attempted shoe bomb and we all take off our shoes at airports. We STILL can’t take a bottle of water through security in case it’s a liquid explosive.

        We change the rules all the time when it comes to safety: Seat belts, speed limits, fencing around swimming pools, food inspections. But never with guns. At least, not yet.

        And if you don’t think things are different since the Boston Marathon, try leaving a backpack in the middle of Times Square and see what happens…

  6. I don’t own any guns, but ya know… Apple just sold me a couple of guns today. I’m headed to the local gun store. I’ve hear the Glock 19 is the gold standard for your average 9mm simi-automatic pistol owner. And maybe I’ll pick up an AR-15 while I’m there. I was going to buy a 9.7 inch iPad Pro today.

    Did you know if you order online, Apple will deliver in 2 hours now. Very cool.

    Oh well. LA Gun Store, here I come.

  7. Is one of Tim Cook’s LGBT companions had a firearm in Orlando the death and destruction could have been significantly reduced. Banning cartoonish illustrations of firearms is a pointless and futile as politely asking a deranged to put his weapon down and place love in his heart. Eventually, cops with real guns stopped the killing. Sometimes violence is necessary to protect people who are attacked by criminals and terrorists. It’s called self defense.

  8. Just want to point out that Apple is only one voting member in the emoji consortium. They didn’t do this on their own, even if they did bring up the issue. Maybe they all felt that ADDING a rifle symbol at this time wasn’t the best PR move for anyone.

    As several others have pointed out, there are still gun images available, and even as a staunch gun-control advocate, I see nothing wrong with guns and gun-related imagery on emojis (or anywhere else for that matter).

    I’m also against drunk driving, but I have no problem with booze emojis or car emojis — or even emojis of drunk drivers. Sometimes you’ve just gotta look at the bigger picture. Can you imagine the press conference at emoji central? “So, why did you feel the need to add a rifle emoji at this time…?”

  9. To be fair, while Tim is the visible target, I suspect he is oblivious to this whole emoji thing.

    In thinking about it calmly, I just cannot imagine that a guy who’s throwing around billions trying to save his business in China is sitting around approving emojis.

    It was probably some Apple twit.

  10. Might I suggest that all of the mannerless name-callers on this list get together and get rich making a podcast who’s million fans will agree with everything you say? Then you’ll be too busy to bother us here. Thank you.

      1. Come on, Tim Cook isn’t seriously into punitive control the way the iron-fisted Steve Jobs was. Besides, MDN is a precious haven for all us disaffected mannerless name-callers.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.