Apple jumps the shark by removing the handgun emoji; Gun owners might want to reconsider buying Apple’s products

“Apple released another beta of iOS 10 yesterday, and among the changes in that release was the introduction of a squirt gun emoji that replaced the hand gun emoji that had previously been available,” Jim Lynch writes for CIO. “I’m running beta four of iOS 10 so I verified the change yesterday after doing my upgrade, the handgun emoji is no longer available.”

“Before I get any further into this post, you should know that I’m a life member of the NRA, so my perspective on guns certainly does not match Apple’s,” Lynch writes. “I’ve been a life member for a long time now, and I always recommend that folks join the NRA to help protect 2nd amendment rights.”

More than one hundred new and redesigned emoji characters will be available to iPhone and iPad users this fall with iOS 10. This exciting update brings more gender options to existing characters, including new female athletes and professionals, adds beautiful redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options. Apple is working closely with the Unicode Consortium to ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere. — Apple’s official statement about iOS 10 emoji changes

“Take very careful note of the sentence that mentions ‘popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere,’ Lynch writes. “Apple is using what it considers to be the language of inclusion, while at the same time excluding people like me who own handguns and who use them safely and legally. So much for real diversity and inclusion on Apple’s part. Apparently diversity doesn’t include lawful gun owners in America and other parts of the world.”

“When a corporation’s power and software is used to slowly edge out free expression within its products then I think it’s time to step back and think carefully about supporting that company. Remember that getting rid of the handgun emoji was the second step after blocking the implementation of the rifle emoji, there will be more of this kind of ideological censorship coming from Apple in the future,” Lynch writes. “For me this means a freeze on buying any new Apple products for the foreseeable future.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Whether this fiasco was indeed prompted by a bug report about the handgun emoji (see the full article) or not, Apple would do better to more deeply consider their actions before acting like sanctimonious fools. Is this really a well-thought-out plan or just a knee-jerk reaction?

Perhaps a drop in product sales might be the wakeup call Apple’s brass so obviously needs to remind them that, like freedom of speech, diversity means actual diversity, not just including the types of people or entertaining thoughts or speech with which you happen to agree.

Some people have said that I shouldn’t get involved politically because probably half our customers are Republicans – maybe a little less, maybe more Dell than ours. But I do point out that there are more Democrats than Mac users so I’m going to just stay away from all that political stuff because that was just a personal thing. — Steve Jobs, August 2004

Open Thread: Should Apple code their OSes to block video games that glorify guns and murder? – August 3, 2016
Apple removes handgun emoji, replaces it with a squirt gun – August 1, 2016
Apple’s politics may be hurting its brand – June 29, 2016
Apple CEO Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to just stay away from all that political stuff’ – August 25, 2004


  1. Actually, let us ban all television and movies that have guns and use them in a violent manner. Oh wait, then democrats and the liberal Hollywood douchebags would be out of a job, can’t have that now, can we? Where do you think kids get these ideas about violence and fun use? Yup, TV and movies which glorify violence.

  2. I”m rather shocked at MDN’s reaction – using such hyperbole as “fiasco” over an emoji? seriously? if you truly want diversification then does that include swastickers or satanic symbols – where does it end? with all the shooting going on i don’t think we need to support guns anymore than they already are. i also don’t see cigarette or pot emoji – do you feel we should have those?

    1. Well Rasta,
      Aren’t you glad you live in a world where you can express your opinion without reserve? In the US, that speech is protected by the 1st amendment. So, now just think if there was a movement to repeal that right? You would freak to death if that happened. My point is there is the 2nd amendment, and it is protected as much as your right to spout off. So fuck off and try to take my fucking guns. There, now I feel better. And I’m NRA too….

      1. Oh you fuck off. No one is taking anything away from you except in this case an emoji.

        No one is talking about appealing your right. It’s about applying that right with some 21st century common-fucking sense, which you and your members fail to see or possess.

        The 2nd amendment was written 240 years and 30 days ago. It does not apply today as it did then. Just as many aspects of the bible would not apply in todays world. It’s called history for a reason.

        And of course you’re NRA.

  3. Imagine a situation where someone sends a “squirt gun” emoji pointing at a smiley face to a non-apple phone…

    Standards exist for a reason… companies shouldn’t just decide to change them on a whim… (look at Internet Explorer…)

    1. Which part of …”Apple is working closely with the Unicode Consortium”… did you not understand?

      In other words, Apple isn’t making changes on a whim. It is working with the Unicode consortium.

      Changes will be implemented in non-Apple devices as well. No need to worry about that squirt gun pointing at a smiley face.

  4. Members of the NRA are probably the most actively engaged lobbying group of all in America. While nowhere near the most numerous, or the richest, or the highest contributor, NRA has the advantage of by far the most active grass-roots network. No other advocacy group has as active and engaged members as the NRA.

    In America, numerous surveys and polls have confirmed, year after year, that over 80% of the American population supports some gun regulation and restrictions. If you regulate cars (requiring registration and driver licenses), which practically every adult American needs in order to lead a meaningful life, there is no logical explanation why lawful gun owners can’t be required to obtain licenses before getting guns, and why guns shouldn’t be registered. Anyway, as I said, over 80% of Americans support gun regulation. This isn’t a made-up number, it is a fact that even NRA occasionally admits.

    Unfortunately, when a gun-regulation bill comes up for a vote, your congressmen and senators receive 200 to 1 phone calls in opposition to any such law. This also isn’t a made-up number, it is real. NRA members call and visit their lawmakers almost without exception. This shouldn’t be such a big surprise. They aren’t called on to support some convoluted five-point plan or platform; all they are asked to do is say ‘NO’. A simple message, no complicated language, no complicated explanation — just NO to ANY gun laws. A little bit of scary paranoid warnings (“They are coming to take your guns away!!!”) is plenty to motivate even the slackest of members. That makes it easy for anyone and everyone who owns a gun to call or go to their senator and tell them what they think about the law.

    Gun control advocates can’t ever hope to mobilise anywhere near the numbers that NRA has, even thought five times more people in the country actually disagree with the NRA. They are a very diverse and disparate group that often disagrees on various other matters, unlike the NRA with near-perfect unity of purpose.

    America will continue to pay the ultimate price (with human lives) for the privilege of the few to own fire arms without any restrictions.

    1. Whenever you talk about restricting any rights, not just guns, it’s not so much a loophole as it is a Constitutional concern. Obviously dangerous people should not have guns if they are likely to commit a crime with them. BUT: in the U.S. there is this thing called “due process” which is guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. No one can or should have their civil liberties taken from them without a judge or jury first deciding that they can indeed be stripped of that civil liberty. If you allow otherwise, in the end you are permitting minor government bureaucrats decide what rights you do or do not have as a citizen. And as anyone who has had to go through the DMV to get a driver’s license, you know that such workers do not always have the best interest of that citizen in mind when making a decision. There also needs to be a mechanism in place that gives right to appeal a decision that strips civil liberties. One way that a spouse or partner in a domestic relationship sometimes seeks revenge on his/her partner is to wrongfully accuse them of being dangerous. They are then wrongly stripped of their guns. Even under the current system, it’s often difficult for them to get those guns back, sometimes never.

      A registry would also list all the gun owners who HAVEN’T committed a crime and never will, and you should not punish the majority of a population just because of a few bad guys, especially when we’re talking about a Constitutional right. Anyway, if a person is dangerous enough to lose their Constitutional rights, maybe they ought to be in jail?

      I am not going to register my gun willingly just because, for example, some lowlife might harm his wife. If the abuser is so intent on harming that woman, what is preventing him from taking a baseball bat to her head, or shooting her with a crossbow, or an arrow, or hitting her with an axe, or hitting her with a hammer, or strangling her, or running her down with a car, or poisoning her, or pushing her down a set of stairs as he stalks her somewhere, or a million other scenarios? — Nothing. So all we get is an unwanted registry and the woman is still unsafe. Doesn’t sound like much of a solution to me, you sound more like someone wants to scapegoat guns when the problem is with the person wielding that gun or other weapon.

      1. Thank you for a very intelligent and substantive response. I can see how your argument makes sense in some academic discussion.

        In practice, though, it is difficult to accept all of it, in face of strong statistical data that points to direct correlation between gun regulation and gun violence, and in every segment.

        Why did America (never mind the rest of the world) accept regulating cars? After all, as you clearly mention, the process clearly poses a threat to individual liberties. Apparently, when the famous 2nd amendment to the constitution was adopted (1791), there were no cars, so the right to drive cars couldn’t have been enshrined in the constitution. When it became clear that cars were dangerous machines, states started requiring registration and licensing.

        You say that “one should not punish the majority […] just because of few bad guys”, implying that registering an ownership of a gun is somehow a punishment for something. I’m not quire sure how is that a punishment.

        As for the final argument (“what is preventing the abuser from taking a baseball bat, crosbow, arrow, axe, hammer”, etc), it may make some logical sense, but in practice, it doesn’t hold up. Data clearly shows that in the households with guns, there is much greater likelihood of a lethal outcome of a domestic violence altercation than in those without. This makes a lot of sense: when a drunken husband gets angry, he can pull out a gun and squeeze the trigger. The outcome is instantaneous and irreversible. If no gun is available, he can pick up a bat, axe, knife, arrow, and the victim has the time to respond. The outcome is a lot less certain (and statistical data clearly shows this).

        Generally, data paints a very clear picture: in situations of conflict, when guns are available, the outcome is significantly more likely to be lethal than in the same situations where guns aren’t available. And this doesn’t even begin to address issue of accidental death from the firearm.

        The entire myth that 2 million Americans annually use their gun in self-defense (according to the NRA) has long been debunked. Several extensive studies show that American gun owners are more likely to have their guns stolen from them (and then used against them) than they are to successfully defend themselves from an intruder. The entire premise of the gun-ownership advocates that “the only thing that could stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is based on made-up myth and has no basis in reality. Guns (legally owned) are used significantly more for homicide and suicide than for self-defense.

        I honestly don’t know what is the best solution for your country, but what you currently have is clearly not working. You have by far the highest number of gun-related deaths per capita in all of the developed world (and in most of the developing world!), and the data seems to indicate that the only reason for that is your non-existent gun regulation.

        1. It depends how you define “clearly not working” because I would say it is working. What country has had freedom and democracy longer than the USA?
          What country are you from? We can compare results.

          1. When I say “clearly not working”, I am talking about the highest per-capita gun deaths in the developed world (by far). Literally all of Europe and Asia (and this includes Russia!) has lower gun-related deaths than the US. Even Mexico has better numbers!

            Something is clearly not right when a civilized country with a highly functioning judicial system and law enforcement has so disproportionately high rate of firearm deaths per capita.

            As for the democracy, I’m not sure I would be proud of this year’s presidential candidates. The two-party dictatorship has lead to a situation where vast majority of population doesn’t really want to vote for either of the two main candidates, but will end up doing exactly that (choosing, with a pinched nose, a lesser of two evils).

            As for my own country, I have very little to be proud of; the place went through numerous wars over the past 70 years, with significant border changes, so it would be hard for me to even figure out specifically which country I’m referring to (the place I was born in is no longer in my own country…). Between the communist dictatorship and the parade of various political parties tossing the presidency between each other, the net result is still a struggling economy in transition.

            Having lived in the developed world for over 25 years, however, gave me a good insight in the democratic processes.

    2. You forget that guns are highly regulated and there are thousands of gun laws already on the books. You also are blind to the fact that CRIMINALS do not care or heed gun laws. So in effect, gun laws are useless for LAW ABIDING CITIZENS exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. Come to California and see how many hoops you need to jump through to purchase a handgun. Then go out on the street and ask your local gang member if they purchased their guns legally. Now do you finally get the point that CRIMINALS DO NOT OBEY LAWS? This is not a random fact, but set in stone. All these gun laws do is infringe on LAW ABIDING CITIZENS.

      1. The problem aren’t criminals with illegal guns. The biggest problem in your country is gun deaths that happen from legally purchased and legally owned guns.

        You see, for those criminals who have illegally obtained guns, data shows that they are much more likely going to use them against each other. While gun deaths are gun deaths, I think we can all agree that regular, law-abiding citizens are much less concerned about the gun violence among criminals themselves, when such violence is extremely unlikely to involve ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

        You see, the problem in America is that the small percentage of American population that loves their guns so much continues to buy the baseless NRA scare propaganda about the danger of guns at the hands of criminals. The reality is that such risk is practically negligible for an ordinary American; it is far more likely that you’ll get struck by lightning, or hit by a bus, or die in an airplane crash, than get killed by a criminal with an illegally-purchased gun. In fact, if you live in a household with guns, you are much more likely to be killed by a that gun (intentionally or accidentally), than you are by a criminal with an illegal gun. There is plenty of data from many extensive studies in America supporting that. The “Stand your ground” confrontations (where an intruder was met by the home owner) have much worse outcomes for the homeowners when the homeowner has a gun; if the intruder is the only person with the gun, data shows that he will almost never fire it (because the home owner will almost always comply when threatened with a gun); once the homeowner’s gun enters the equation, the likelihood of the intruder using that firearm is significantly higher. So, the chances of homeowner dying goes from close to 0% up to at least 50% or even higher (remember, intruder is the one who prepared for the invasion; homeowner is caught by surprise, and the intruder won’t wait for the homeowner to fire his gun first).

        The American gun lobby has one main “common sense” argument — self-defense. Unfortunately, that argument has no basis in reality or facts. Of all the incidents where gun was involved, self-defense represents negligible percentage.

        So, we come to the only remaining defensible argument: 2nd ammendment. In other words, Guns can’t be regulated because the constitution, written 240 years ago, doesn’t allow it, never mind the consequences. As legally powerful as this argument is, it is a very thin fig leaf to hide behind.

        As I said before, your country will continue to pay a heavy price (in human lives) for the privilege of its few gun lovers to hoard firearms without any restrictions.

  5. Forget the gun emoji. Fake Billionaire Tramp (Putans pet) will soon demand Apple to nuke the emojis.

    “Donald Trump Repeatedly Asked Why We Couldn’t Use Nukes”

    “Three times he asked, at one point, if we have them, why can’t we use them? Three times, in an hour briefing, why can’t we use nuclear weapons.”

  6. First Apple hosts a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton and now this?

    That should show its customers – and the world – who’s lining their pockets with Cash and wiping their butts. Because it’s surely not their customers.

    I bet Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave right now.

  7. Adding a squirt gun was appropriate. Removing the real gun emoji takes more away from freedom of expression than it adds. The real test of a free society is how well we tolerate the expressions that we DISAGREE with. Like it or not the real gun emoji has expressive value that all should be aware of. I agree with Apples’ sentiment but it was completely unnecessary.

  8. 🔫 there I’ve now actually used the emoji..
    I guess according to Apple I now should want to kill someone.

    These are all fine cause nobody has ever been killed or harmed with these right?

  9. I agree with MDN’s take: there is an ethical issue here- who is Apple to say what is “socially acceptable” or not? I’ve been using Mac’s since 1985 and had an iPhone 1 and I will continue to buy Apple products. But it has ALWAYS disturbed me that they impose their morals on me. I’m absolutely NO fan of the NRA (I believe assault weapons should be banned), but I also believe in free speech.

    I realize this is hard to believe for some people, but to the best of my knowledge, no emoji has ever killed someone. Images, like words, should be protected under the Constitution..

    1. “Assault weapons” is a made-up term that applies to whatever best serves Democrats who are pushing gun control at any given time.

      The made-up term of “assault weapons” came into play when the Democrats — who were eager to find a scapegoat for escalating crime in the early 1990s — created a “politically defined category of guns” they could then demonize and ban. They subsequently achieved an “assault weapons” ban in 1994, and it lasted until 2004. And when today’s Democrats appeal to that ban as one that should be re-instituted, they prove they understand little about it.

      For starters, the 1994 did not ban “assault weapons.” Rather, it banned cosmetic features that Democrats consider part and parcel to “assault weapons.”

      To put it another way, the 1994 ban did not ban AR-15s in general. Rather, it banned flash hiders, certain fore stocks and grips, collapsible and folding rear stocks, “high capacity” magazines, etc. It banned things that made the gun look like the scary guns Democrats think about when they think about an “assault weapon.” But it did nothing to change or ban the actual gun.

      Were certain guns explicitly banned? Yes. But the larger scope of the ban was so cosmetically based that manufacturers could simply remove certain features, lengthen the barrel slightly, label the gun a “target rifle,” and continue selling them. For example, according to the Washington Post, while the Colt AR-15 that James Holmes used in his attack on the Aurora, Colorado movie theater would have been banned, a “Colt Match Target rifle” would not. The difference between the AR-15 and the target rifle is largely cosmetic.

      Again, none of the differences in the two guns impacts basic operation, just as the presence or absence of a collapsible stock has no effect on bullet velocity.

  10. Huge response to whether a pistol emoji should be a squirt gun! Amazing to watch how every tiny detail in American life is exploited by people trying to polarize everything to the extremes. It allows America to expound that its freedom of speech knows no bounds and that even the mentally unstable can become president by exploiting this polarization.

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