Emoji are dangerous. Everyone knows that. Use the wrong emoji and your message may not be exactly what you’d intended. This is especially true when it comes to gun emoji. A gun emoji in the wrong hands can be lethal. And with so many kids using cell phones… why risk it?
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That’s why Apple has decided to ditch the pistol emoji from its line-up of available emoji options. You know–for kids!
Instead of the quasi realistic representation of a firearm, Apple is opting for an obvious nod to the old-fashioned water pistol. This one is green. Instead of offering an option that denotes violence, as the old emoji was reported to have been used for, this one just implies the recipient of the message might get a little wet.
Apple launching the new option on iPhones and iPads this fall, when it updates its operating system.
This isn’t the only new emoji, either. Women get far more representation–at least cartoon women. Women are now very sporty, doing things typically associated with male emoji, like basketball and lifting weights. And there’s much more diversity in emoji cartoon skin tones.
I, for one, am glad that the pistol emoji is going away. For those with long memories, I offer this example. A terrifying 12 year old thug in Virginia learned a valuable lesson about emoji violence. He put up an Instagram post with a gun emoji and the cops charged him with a felony–which will be helpful in preventing him from legally owning real guns. Police read it as a death threat.
I for one feel much safer now that this little punk has been dealt with.
But Apple’s decision does not mean all gun emoji are going away.
An organization called the Unicode Consortium is tasked with the responsibility of sanctioning emoji. They’re not doing away with all gun emoji, as they should, so apple took the bold step of governing themselves.Most of the big tech giants are member of the Unicode Consortium, and they make decisions based on petitions.
The Unicode Consortium had the good sense to ignore a petition for a rifle emoji that came through last year. Who knows how many lives that saved.
For those worried that apple hasn’t, you can breathe easy. They’re currently considering a petition that would force auto-correct to change commonly typed words. If the plan goes through, gun, pistol, GLOCK, rifle, etc. would be changed to “fragile flower.”
As for the actual emoji changes set to take place this fall, Apple had this to say: “popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere.” Except, of course for the law-abiding gun owners. They’re on their own.