The 20-year-old pop star got the tat Thursday in Los Angeles and controversy was stirred after the tattoo artist, Louis F. Perez III, posted a photo of his work on Instagram.
"Made sure my homey was strapped," he posted along with the photo, before later taking it down off his profile.
Some anti-gun activists said the tattoo could set a bad example for Malik's young fans.
"It is a shame that anyone would think it makes you look cool if you get a gun tattoo," said Ray Nelson, president of the Guitars Not Guns organization. "Promoting guns in fashion could lead to gun violence and we certainly don't need any more of that."
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]