The gun emoji might not be loaded with bullets, but it’s filled with symbolism.
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) is calling on Apple to delete the gun emoji from users’ keyboards in an attempt to raise awareness about gun violence with the hashtag #DisarmTheiPhone.
The nonprofit group, whose mission is spelled out in its name, is chastising Apple for including progressive emoji (i.e. the same-sex couple) while staying silent on a hot topic issue like this. NYAGV states in a press release that the gun emoji has “taken root in our culture and our digital conversations,” with guns becoming just as ubiquitous as the iPhone.
While it’s unlikely that Apple would delete the gun from its keyboards, NYAGV executive director Leah Barnett told Digiday that “at very least, the campaign raises the issue of gun violence” in the U.S. The group targeted Apple because it positions itself as a progressive company that “should be concerned with the toll that gun violence” inflicts across America, she said.
Arguably, Android-maker Google is just as progressive and also has a gun emoji on its keyboards, but NYAGV doesn’t plan to target them “at the moment.” As for Apple, it hasn’t yet responded to Digiday’s request for comment about the campaign.
#DisarmTheiPhone was created in conjunction with interns from creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and includes startling facts about gun violence (roughly 33,000 people die each year because of guns) and encourage people to tweet with the hashtag.
Since launching Friday, the hashtag has been met with a tepid response, however. Topsy measured 1,200 tweets with the hashtag with people mostly from the right side of the political spectrum not taking kindly to it.
If they take the away, people will just use . #DisarmTheiPhone is the stupidest thing I’ve seen all morning. But the day is still young.
— matthewnsharp (@matthewnsharp) July 31, 2015
Wtf is this #DisarmTheiPhone bullshit..it’s a fucking emoji people go home
— Matt DiGiantommaso (@MattyDHimself) July 31, 2015
Deleting the gun emoji from iPhones will lower gun violence, said no one ever #DisarmTheiPhone
— Corbin Davenport (@corbindavenport) August 3, 2015
Regardless, the hashtag struck a chord with some, which is the group’s intent:
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