Article published Friday, August 5, 2016, at Fox News.

Why is Apple so afraid of a little picture of a gun?

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Apple’s next iPhone and iPad operating system will no longer feature an emoji picture of a handgun. In its place will be an emoji of a green, plastic squirt gun.

There is nothing particularly threatening about the current handgun picture. You only see the side of the gun; it isn’t pointed at the reader or anyone else. No bullets are even being fired. The whole idea to drop the handgun emoji came about through a lobbying effort started by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

The bomb, sword, knife, and axe emojis will stay. Apparently, a bomb with a lit fuse is OK but a nonthreatening handgun is too much.

So do you feel safer now?

Apple isn't the first tech company to be accused of liberal political bias. This year, Facebook was found to be leaving conservative sources out of its list of trending news stories.

Google’s news searches have also favored Hillary Clinton and liberal sources.

Apple is a member of a non-profit organization called the Unicode Consortium, which sets a standard so that other computers know when your computer has sent them an emoji smiling face or a gun. Each computer operating system then has discretion in terms of how that emoji will actually look on your computer.

Apple’s replacement of a handgun with a water pistol isn’t its first foray into political correctness on guns.

This past June, Apple successfully campaigned against the Unicode Consortium when it wanted to create a rifle emoji. The rifle was being given serious consideration since rifle shooting is part of this summer’s Olympic Games in Brazil.

Those who support the right to self-defense might be forgiven for believing that there is a “War on Guns,” with a concerted attack by everyone from Apple to the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent by the likes of billionaires Michael Bloomberg and George Soros in producing misleading information on guns to Hillary Clinton promising to again make it possible for government to ban guns.

Back in August 2004, Steve Jobs, a Democrat, didn’t think that Apple should be taking sides in political debates. When Jobs was asked about George W. Bush, he replied: “There are more Democrats than Mac users so I’m going to just stay away from all that political stuff because that was just a personal thing.”

Well, the Steve Jobs era is over. Tuesday, Apple announced “more than a hundred new and redesigned emoji characters.” Apple emphasized it was offering “more gender options” and that it wanted “to ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere.” But Apple’s view of diversity is the equivalent of diversity in liberal academia. Diversity is acceptable as long as it fits between moderate Democrats and left-wingers.

Never mind that guns can be used for good. Never mind that police can’t be everywhere and can't always protect people. Never mind that lots of Twitter conversations could use the emoji without actually having anything to do with violence: describing someone as “a hired gun” or “sticking to their guns” or “jumping the gun.” Are we really better off if we could exorcise this word from the English language?

Last week, it was announced that there are over 14.5 million adult concealed handgun permit holders in the U.S. Each year, this number has grown faster and faster. And, in recent years, more than half of the guns sold in the U.S. have been handguns.

Concealed handgun permit holders are probably the most law-abiding Americans. They are even much more law-abiding than police officers.

Yet, somehow, Apple doesn’t even trust its users with a harmless emoji.

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Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

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