Apple and the (squirt) gun emoji

“Apple announced a number of changes to their emoji set this week, including better representation of women, single-parent families, and a pride flag,” Jeremy Burge writes for Emojipedia. “Many of these additions were met with a mixed reaction, but none has generated more feedback than this: ‘🔫 Pistol emoji has changed from a realistic-looking gun in iOS 9.3 to a bright green toy water gun in the iOS 10 beta.'”

Feedback for the change of falls into broad categories:

😂 Ridicule “this is dumb”
💅 Disinterest “who cares, what’s the point”
👹 Snark “what’s next, the poo emoji?”
💩 Frustration “Political Correctness GONE MAD”
🤔 Concern “won’t this be confusing?”
😡 Anger “how DARE Apple take away our gun emoji”

Burge writes, “The real issue here is that emoji is bigger than Apple. Or to put it more succinctly, this is dangerous:”

Gun emoji danger

“If Apple goes ahead with this change in the public iOS 10 release, one person could innocently tweet a toy and have that be seen by others as a weapon,” Burge writes. “Apple: Don’t change the pistol emoji. At least not today. Hide it. Unicode does not depreciate emojis, but there is no requirement to show all approved emojis on the keyboard.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As Burge notes, iOS 10 is still in beta, so it’s not too late for Apple to correct this issue.

In wake of London stabbing rampage, will Apple replace their knife emoji with a plastic spork? – August 4, 2016
Open Thread: Should Apple code their OSes to block video games that glorify guns and murder? – August 3, 2016
Apple jumps the shark by removing the handgun emoji; Gun owners might want to reconsider buying Apple’s products – 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 quashes rifle Emoji – June 20, 2016


  1. The squirtgun looks TOO MUCH like a REAL GUN.

    One time, when I was in school, a classmate BIT HIS POPTART INTO THE SHAPE OF A PISTOL. HE WAS EXPELLED.

    Apple needs to do the same thing here. Get rid of the squirtgun!


  2. I’m no gun fan, but this really does seem excessive.

    But then I post this from a country where guns are not as big of a problem as they are in the USA. It’s crazy in some parts over there, just the idea that you can just wander round with a firearm, and not just a gun but a concealed weapon loaded with loads of ammo is just alien to me.

    I think Apple should have both. Maybe the squirt gun as default but if you press and hold the real gun is available. Whatever decision they make its going to be wrong for some people.

    My $0.02.

    1. NRA is not really that huge. Apparently, “Planet Fitness” (a chain of cheap fitness clubs) has more members than NRA.

      The difference is, NRA has most rabid, active, mobilised and motivated grass-roots membership. When gun control laws are up for a vote, they aggressively call or visit their lawmakers until the vote fails. While 80% of nation supports gun control laws, none can get passed, because your congressmen and senators keep getting calls from the NRA members at the ratio of 200:1 against those laws.

      The NRA fans (and probably other conservatives) on this forum have a good reason to be proud of their powerful advocacy, but one shouldn’t be surprised. It is difficult to rally people around a convoluted six-point plan; it is much easier to rally them around a simple message: “NO!”. There is nothing to study, nothing to remember. Simply call the senator and tell him “NO!” about that gun legislation. And when NRA spices up that “NO!” message with the usual paranoid scary warning that “They are coming to take your guns away!”, it is easy to see how even the slackest of the NRA members will be happy to pick up the phone, if not even drive all the way to Washington, D.C.

      1. That is an astute analysis, Predrag. The NRA’s strategy is one that has served the cause of democracy well, through the mechanism of an upwelling minority opposing an oppressive majority entirely within the system. That the message is a simple one does not imply that NRA members are simple; to the contrary, they understand that the “slippery slope” argument is none other than the “judicial precedent” legal flog that tends to serially dismember our liberties.

        More generally, the outbalanced influence of “special interests” in Congress is an established component of democracy in the U.S., never mind that Europeans’ sense of smell may be offended by it. It tends to get messy but in the end, though it may take several election cycles, any rascals are outed. There has never been a “Seven Days in May,” a military or political coup. The rest of the world specialises in those, but we Americans have a system of remarkable stability—even our Civil War and its continuing reverberations hasn’t stopped any of us from uniting against any existential threat.

        And yes, we have a lot of gun deaths but in the end, an awful lot of people still want to come here to live. Maybe they understand that life is full of tradeoffs, and that this one is worth it to them. I for one don’t want to dispute their choice by citing statistics.

        1. I wouldn’t have expected (ever) to find a point of disagreement with you of all people on this forum, but I suppose it was bound to happen.

          I find the “slippery slope” argument very disingenuous and weak. The same argument is used by those who resist change in very many situations in the past: giving the women the right to vote (“next, we’ll let blacks vote, and then what?”), inter-racial marriage (“next, we’ll let gays marry, then what? Animals??”) and similar other changes that pushed the social justice bar a bit higher.

          No, it is not a slippery slope to regulate guns. Quite many very democratic countries, with just as many civil liberties as the US, have quite complex, effective and working gun regulation. Yet, they haven’t restricted their populations’ liberties — people can still own guns.

          As for the trade-offs, I find that argument just as weak. Needlessly sacrificing lives of innocent people, in order to avoid the academic and hypothetical possibility of a “slippery slope” somewhere down the road in the future, is really difficult to justify by arguing that people still want to live in the US, therefore, the trade-off (the sacrifice) is OK.

          The statistical data tells us very clearly what Americans should do in order to reduce the number of people that needlessly die from guns. There is plenty of room for an effective solution that will be quite far away from any hypothetical “slippery slope”. The NRA and its members simply refuse to even begin any discussion, and as a consequence, Americans continue to needlessly die every year. I find it extremely difficult to accept their deaths as a necessary trade-off, especially since that trade-off simply isn’t necessary.

          As I said, there are plenty of ways.

          1. Thank you for taking me seriously.

            Don’t bother with the analogies with slippery slope arguments that fail. Yes, most of those arguments fail. But too much history and emotion fuel this partiicular issue to be dismissed with specious statistical comparisons. Please appreciate that statistical comparisons are never fully grounded; they are fraught with error in ways that simple logic and common experience are not. I won’t try to educate you about how seemingly impervious statistical arguments can crash and burn because of wayward assumptions, some of which were once social bedrock but eroded and gave way to spectacular collapses of fully informed, not to say smug, institutional arrangements. And don’t talk about needless deaths; there is no other kind, and that phrase is insulting to anyone who tries to think things through for herself apart from some political narrative.

            1. Fair enough. clearly, we profoundly disagree on this one and I won’t make any further efforts to argue the point (with you).

              Just one thing, on the last point, the “needless” deaths. You are right, there is no other kind, and the correct, much more appropriate phrase would simply be ‘entirely avoidable deaths’. In other words, the privilege of the minority makes those deaths unavoidable.

  3. Apple should ban all weapons including knives from its buildings! Let’s make this official! All security personel should only have cellphones to call local police when needed!

      1. The last time I was in a major Arab country, I watched in amazement at the preparations for an important sheik who was about to leave our hotel.

        A convoy of huge SUVs turned up and three of them had circular gun turret mountings on the roof. They then spent about ten minutes installing twin-barrelled machine guns of about 20mm calibre on each of those turrets. There were other vehicles with guys carrying RPGs. There was also a mini van with darkened windows and an improbable number of aerials on the roof. The total convoy consisted of about twenty vehicles.

        I felt that if you have to live your life needing such extreme protection, then you’ve either done something very bad to upset somebody, or else you’re living in a very sick country.

  4. I think that people should not be allowed to keep guns at home. I really think that.

    But I couldn’t care less about how look a gun-emoji.

    My issue is mainly about how some people people berserks about this. From outside, it’s very concerning and telling about the American society.

    “Make America great again”? … Oh wait! We have this issue with an emoji…

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