Apple’s Squirt Gun Emoji is a Subtle Dig on Gun Violence

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Apple always adds new things to its big operating system upgrades, and sometimes it takes away things, too. When iOS 10 ships this fall it’ll be missing the handgun emoji icon and in its place we’ll get a bright green squirt gun. The change comes as gun-related violence and deaths are on the rise in the United States, and following a public campaign urging Apple to remove the gun emoji.

iOS 10 squirt gun emoji

iOS 9’s gun emoji (left) is a squirt gun in iOS 10 (right)

You can see the new squirt gun emoji in iOS 10 developer beta 4, but sending the emoji to anyone using earlier iOS versions won’t see it. Instead, they’ll see the realistic-looking pistol because their emoji icon set hasn’t been updated yet. Other platforms, such as Android, will show their own version of the gun emoji, too.

Apple isn’t talking about the squirt gun emoji, and instead is focusing on other changes that promote gender and sexual equality. iOS 10’s emoji set also includes women athletes and scientists, and the rainbow Pride flag.

Gun violence is a hot button topic in the U.S. with some groups calling for stricter control over who can purchase firearms, while others say any form of gun control violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting the right to keep and bear arms.

In an open letter to Apple the Disarm the iPhone movement said,

We ask that you stand with the American people and remove the gun emoji from all your products as a symbolic gesture to limit gun accessibility. We understand taking the emoji out will not end gun violence, but this act will show Congress that gun-owning and non-owning Americans have come together to demand required background checks for ALL gun sales.

This comes in the wake of several recent mass shooting incidents such as the Orlando night club where 50 people were killed and 53 injured, the Dallas protest where five police officers where killed and nine injured, and the San Bernardino holiday party where 14 people were killed and 22 injured.

Changing an emoji in iOS 10 isn’t going to stop gun violence or mass shootings, but it is a way for Apple to show support for changes to gun laws. It’s also a subtle reminder that pointing real guns at people is dangerous and potentially deadly.

iOS 10 is scheduled to ship this fall as a free update for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch—gun not included.

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xmattinglyDave Hamiltoncubefangeoduckbrett_x Recent comment authors

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xmattingly
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xmattingly

Sorry about the delay. I think the number of links you put in sent your comment to purgatory. All good now!

Thank you, Dave. That’s not something I’d normally do (and I’ll certainly keep the “purgatory trigger” in mind) — just wasn’t a better way to get my point across, in this case. 👍

Dave Hamilton

xmattingly: My comment is still awaiting moderation for some reason. Which sucks, because I made a lot of relevant points. 😐

Sorry about the delay. I think the number of links you put in sent your comment to purgatory. All good now!

xmattingly
Member
xmattingly

My comment is still awaiting moderation for some reason. Which sucks, because I made a lot of relevant points. 😐

For example, cubefan: “UK took action” sounds good on the surface, but violent deaths have SKYROCKETED in Britain since then.

cubefan
Member
cubefan

geoduck, ’nuff sed. totally agree

Gun control in the UK is equally restrictive, if not more so, owing to new controls implemented after a school shooting in Scotland in the ’90’s when 17 were killed by the murderer. It took just one event to make the government act.

xmattingly
Member
xmattingly

I do not agree that replacing the Emiji is silencing dialogue. geoduck: Yes, it is. A squirt gun is not a firearm. However, you can now express gay pride in pictogram form. To be clear, I take no issue with that; just illustrating a point that Apple is actively picking and choosing which values/culture get representation. If I want to tell my friend that I’m going to spend a few hours at the gun range, I have to relay that in emoticon form… with a squirt gun? That’s every bit as insulting as your dismissiveness of law-abiders who are pro-firearms.… Read more »

geoduck
Member
geoduck

xmattingly I would agree that the two sides are not coming together. They are as polarized as the rest of the US is, about almost everything. The US is by some measures more decided than it was before the civil war and about many issues. However I do not agree that replacing the Emiji is silencing dialogue. That’s hyperbole. It’s a bloody emoji for crying out loud. There is lots of talking going along. Lots of people are talking about guns. The trouble is nobody is listening. But that is true throughout American society. The one thing that I completely… Read more »

xmattingly
Member
xmattingly

…this act will show Congress that gun-owning and non-owning Americans have come together to demand required background checks for ALL gun sales. Nothing subtle about this latest factually incorrect gun hysteria at all. First of all, gun-owning and non gun-owning Americans haven’t “come together”. The anti-firearms activists are using a ubiquitous tech company to silence dialogue about it, altogether. Second, looking over the past two decades gun violence has actually plummeted, in spite of recent tragic events. Third, gun control is demonstrably harmful. Chicago has made it very difficult for law-abiding people to obtain firearms, even as criminals are having… Read more »

brett_x
Member
brett_x

Are they keeping the 💩?

I’m sure they will, it’s amongst the most-used at my and other workplaces around the world.

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Dhp, the reporting of them in places outside one’s immediate area are up.

dhp
Member
dhp

“The change comes as gun-related violence and deaths are on the rise in the United States”

Are gun-related violence and death on the rise in the U.S.? There’s been a lot of attention on that recently, but in general violent crime has been on a downward trend for years.

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Are they keeping the 💩?