Here's the One Place You Can't Get a Gun

June 17th 2016

Lucy Tiven

It doesn't take much to purchase a rifle in many states, but there's one place you aren't going to find one — the emoji menu on your iPhone.

According to a Buzzfeed report published Friday, Apple and Unicode — the organization that determines which emojis end up on your iPhone or tablet — have decided to remove a rifle emoji from an emoji keyboard that will debut in June 2016.

The debate over the emoji dates back to a May 2015 meeting, but has recently drawn mass attention in the wake of the shooting massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando and Wednesday's gun control filibuster. Buzzfeed explained:

"According to sources in the room, Apple started the discussion to remove the rifle emoji, which had already passed into the encoding process for the Unicode 9.0 release this June. Apple told the consortium it would not support a rifle on its platforms and asked for it not to be made into an emoji. “I heard Apple speak up about it and also Microsoft,” one member present at the discussions told BuzzFeed News.

"This is a somewhat unusual decision, as most accepted candidates get approval to become full-fledged emojis."

The rifle emoji, which was introduced as part of an Olympics-themed group of emojis, also spurred controversy in October 2015, BBC reported.

“It would be familiarizing and popularizing the image of a weapon which is not a good idea," Chrissie Hall, the co-chair of the gun-control advocacy group InferTrust said.

The rifle will still be available on Unicode's Official Character database. The pistol emoji (🔫 ) remains available on the emoji keyboard.


[h/t Buzzfeed ]