Rifle dropped from new emojis list

Emoji Image copyright Unicode
Image caption The hunting rifle was one of dozens of new emojis proposed last year

A hunting rifle has been dropped from the latest list of official emojis.

Last October, the Unicode Consortium - which represents many of the tech giants - had proposed including the weapon as one of several new Olympic-themed chat message graphics.

At the time, the BBC reported that a British gun control campaign group had criticised the proposal, saying it was "offensive" to gun injury victims.

A boxing glove and sword-wielding fencer were approved.

However, another emoji - which showed a person firing a pistol to represent the "modern pentathlon" - was also dropped.

According to a report by Buzzfeed, Apple and Microsoft both opposed the inclusion of new gun-themed graphics in the Unicode 9.0 list.

Neither company has confirmed whether this was the case.

"There was consensus to remove them - I can't comment on the details," Unicode president Mark Davis told the BBC.

The decision does not affect the existing pistol emoji, which was added in 2010.

The move was welcomed by the campaigner who first criticised the rifle graphic.

"All those who have been traumatised by gun threats and gun violence will be grateful for this significant gesture of respect and support," said Chrissie Hall on behalf of the Gun Control Network.

"Images of guns can no longer be regarded as light-hearted additions to messages. They represent threats, and evoke fear of violence, suffering, pain and loss."

Beta test

The Unicode Consortium maintains the emoji list to ensure different manufacturers' devices and apps can recognise chat graphics sent to and from each other.

The images do, however, have a different look on each platform.

Google had already added both of the new gun-related emojis to test versions of its next Android operating system ahead of the Unicode 9.0 list being approved.

However, Mr Davies explained that this did not necessarily mean the search company had supported their inclusion.

"A beta version of a product will often use a beta version of an upcoming Unicode release, but then pick up the final version of the Unicode release before going into production," he said.

"That way they can be tested with an almost-final version of the Unicode characters and character properties."

Image copyright Unicode Consortium
Image caption The Unicode 10.0 list includes new emojis for winter sports and Asian foods

The Unicode Consortium's attention now switches to its 10.0 list, due for release next year.

Current suggestions include a dumpling, a fortune cookie and a face with one eyebrow raised.

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