The Pistol emoji was accepted by the Unicode Consortium in 2010. So, companies like Apple added it to their systems.
However, Apple was the first to update the emoji in iOS 10. From a real gun to a water gun made of plastic.
Why was this change made, and why did Google and Samsung follow suit?
Well, as gun violence in the US began rising dramatically from 2014, communities began taking more dramatic measures of prevention.
A 22-year-old man in France was given a three-month prison term for sending his girlfriend a text message with a gun emoji, which the court deemed to be a "real threat."
These kinds of incidents sparked a global discussion about gun safety. These discussions gave rise to the
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
They released a letter asking Apple to remove the gun emoji. describing it as
"a symbolic gesture to limit gun accessibility."
The idea was well-liked because it would stop unnecessary arrests.
So in 2016, Apple replaced the realistic pistol emoji with a green plastic squirt gun. Soon after, other companies followed suit.