Change of gun emoji fires up consumers

Some consider Apple's new water gun emoji to be an infringement on free speech and an unnecessary act.

Julia Duran, Assistant features editor

The First Amendment gives people the right to say, tweet and complain about what they want, and the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear guns. Apple’s recent decision to change the gun emoji to a water gun has led many to question whether it goes against these Constitutionally protected rights.

A month ago, the company changed its iOS 10 and the old, real gun emoji was deleted and substituted with a water gun emoji. Many people question the reasons for this change.

“I think that Apple changed [the emoji] because of angry parents not wanting to introduce their kids to violence,” freshman Janna Foy said. “I personally wasn’t very happy with the change, because it doesn’t have the same effect, but I got used to it.”

Some people think it has to do with gun control and that changing it was a good thing.

“In my opinion, gun control is by far one of the biggest issues in America today, and I really liked the message [that Apple] was putting forward with the change of the gun emoji,” junior Benjamin Gross said. “Having an emoji of a gun made it very easy for people to joke with it and take gun control as nothing important, when in reality, it’s a huge issue.”

Changing the gun emoji was pointless because the company kept other violent options. With more than 1000 emojis, Apple is bound to offend some users.

“Keeping the bomb emoji and changing the gun emoji was a bit strange considering they are both in the violent category,” junior Ahlam Mohamed said. “You might as well [not] change [it] to a water gun if you’re keeping the other violent emojis. It’s not like they’re both going to convince people to do horrible things; it’s just an emoji.”

People should have the right to use the emojis they want to, unless their actions carry a direct threat of violence. Emojis should fall under First Amendment guidelines for free speech instead of being censored by Apple and other companies.

On the other hand, Apple may have changed the emoji to satisfy those who were offended by the gun image. In other words, they wanted to appeal to more consumers to make more money.

“I think it is good entrepreneurism- they are acquiescing to their audience,” criminal justice teacher Ronald Keaton said. “But the people that are gun advocates don’t care, it is the [people] that see [the gun] as a symbol of being threatening or enticing people to go buy guns.”

Although some may approve of the change, it won’t actually make a difference in society because laws remain the same. Having a water gun emoji may be less violent, but it will neither prevent shootings from happening nor make Americans safer.

“I think [they changed it] as a way to show less violence and more peace,” sophomore Aditi Mahabal said. “But I think that instead of changing emojis, we should change the gun policies that we have- that would make more of an impact than just giving a water gun emoji.”

On its latest operating system, iOS 10, Apple has replaced its pistol emoji with this icon of a green water gun.