After a driver in Chicago pulled his legally owned firearm and stopped a potential mass-shooting, ride-sharing service Uber decided it was a better idea to leave their drivers defenseless in all such situations.
Many Uber drivers, including some whom I know, carry a firearm for personal protection every single day. They especially want to carry their weapons while driving for or riding with Uber, because one cannot predict if a passenger or driver may try to commit a crime while in the vehicle.
In Virginia Beach, Virginia, one Uber driver was attacked with a knife by a passenger. Luckily, she was able to turn the tables on the attacker, and he was the one who ended up being stabbed and charged with assault. However, not all situations are like that, and Kimberly Green began speaking out about the safety issues that Uber drivers often face.
Green says it’s upsetting trying to understand what led up to the incident, especially knowing she’s had her share of situations.
“I’ve had a couple of experiences where I had to kick people out of the car. Sketchy situations where I thought I was going to get robbed,” she says.
Green says she tries to avoid getting into these scenarios.
“I use my gut intuition for one. I am very cautious about where I pick up and drop off,” she says.
She also carries a taser with her and Uber drivers try to look out for each other. She’s part of an Uber driver chat group that regularly alerts each other to their whereabouts.
While carrying a taser or pepper spray is certainly smart, these defensive tools don’t match up to the equalizing power of a firearm. Some people can effectively ignore tasers, even with the millions of volts being transmitted, and a few others are not affected by pepper spray at all.
Far fewer people are immune to bullets, though. Yet Uber believes that it knows best, and that if you drive for their company you have no right to defend yourself against thugs.
One driver is taking that opposition a step further, and is filing a class-action lawsuit against Uber stating that their policy violates his right to bear arms. Jose Mejia, who carries a handgun for personal protection, filed suit in Federal District Court in Florida earlier this month.
When speaking to Miami local ABC affiliate, he raised safety concerns that echo what Green of Virginia stated.
“I’m not able to protect myself or defend myself, and remember we have regular cars — there’s not a divider between us and the passenger, or nothing of that nature.”
The turning point for him was when another Uber driver was robbed at gunpoint, but pulled his own weapon to protect himself. He shot the two suspects, one of whom died at the scene.
“Imagine if he had not had his weapon — he wouldn’t be alive today, the passenger wouldn’t be alive today and then what’s Uber going to do? Issue a statement of apologies and that’s it? What about his family?” Mejia said.
His case rests upon a Florida statute that affirmatively protects a person’s right to bear arms in his/her vehicle. His attorney told The Trace that his suit certainly has merit.
“Were this a company car or a car leased by the company, it would be an entirely different story,” he said. “But Uber drivers use their own vehicles.”
Mejia certainly does make a good case. As his attorney stated, these are the drivers’ own vehicles, not Uber company cars. The Uber company is allowed limited access to that person’s vehicle for transportation purposes. Placing policies that completely regulate otherwise lawful activity in that person’s car is something that Mejia believes is an overreach.
Whether there is a legal case or not, Uber and Lyft should not ban their drivers and passengers from possessing their legally owned handguns. Drivers who carry have already saved lives, and many more can be saved.
H/T Bearing Arms