Apple Takes Away Gun Emoji Without Explanation

Apple
AP

Tech giant Apple is replacing its gun emoji a year after gun control advocates pressured the company to do so, and is adding more emojis of female athletes and professionals to show greater diversity.

The pistol emoji is being replaced by a bright green water gun with the next version of iOS 10, the newest operating system coming this fall, Apple revealed in a statement Monday.

The original gun emoji has been around for six years, and the change comes without any specific explanation.

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The new water gun emoji replacing the pistol was introduced over a year after the #DisarmTheiPhone movement started, a social media campaign launched by the advocacy group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. The campaign requested supporters to tweet at Apple CEO Tim Cook to remove the gun emoji, according to a June 2015 NYAGV press release.

"The gun emoji has taken root in our culture and our digital conversations. Let’s all call on Apple to get rid of the virtual gun and publicly join our call for universal background checks on all gun sales," NYAGV Executive Director Leah Gunn Barrett said in a statement at the time.

The water gun design is one of over 100 new emoji changes and additions for the iOS 10 update included as part of Apple’s broader effort to highlight greater diversity for iPhone and iPad users. The update will include female athletes, police officers, construction workers, single-parent families, and a rainbow flag emoji.

"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 said in its statement Monday. "Apple is working closely with the Unicode Consortium to ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere."