If you travel, chances are you've used the rideshare taxi alternative, Uber. Perhaps you thought about making some money and driving for the company.
Considering the increased number of violent crimes, including armed carjackings, staying safe as a driver or passenger in a rideshare vehicle will be the topic of a future post. However, first, I wanted to bring awareness to the policies of rideshare leaders Uber and Lyft.
What is Uber's Firearm Policy —
I spent 10 minutes navigating through page after page of safety tips on protecting everyone in the world from the Chinese COVID virus and hurt feelings. However, surprisingly, Uber's gun policy was difficult to find. After searching their help section, I came across this statement:
Uber prohibits riders and their guests, as well as driver and delivery partners, from carrying firearms of any kind while using the app, to the extent permitted by applicable law.
Please note that the only situation where we would allow a firearm while using the app is if you are transporting your firearm in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration rules for transporting firearms and ammunition. That means your firearm must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container in the trunk of the vehicle. All parts, including magazines, clips, ammunition, and bolts and firing pins must also be transported in the trunk of the vehicle.
Failure to comply with this policy may lead to account deactivation.
So what does this policy mean —
If you drive for Uber and the company learns that you have a firearm in your vehicle, Uber will most assuredly ban you from using the service as a driver or passenger. Past that, it's hard to imagine any criminal issue arising. There are states where employers can prohibit employees from carrying firearms in company-owned vehicles, and violation constitutes a criminal act. However, just like Lyft and other businesses of this model, Uber does not have “employees”; instead, they are contractors.
In fact, in a lawsuit claiming Uber misrepresented the safety of using its services after a Uber driver assaulted a passenger with a handgun, Uber specifically refers to itself as a “technology company” and that it “does not perform any transportation services.”
This distinction comes with liberating benefits to the company in terms of taxes and benefit requirements. However, it also makes criminal prosecution against drivers impossible in those states where a statute exists. I'm not an attorney, and if you drive for Uber and want to carry a handgun for self-defense (which you should), you should consult an attorney on the topic.
If you're a passenger in an Uber who dares to arm themselves per the law, and Uber finds out, they are likely to ban you from the service. I am not aware of any state where it is a crime to carry a firearm legally inside an Uber.
It should not be surprising that Uber has an anti-gun policy, even if it is difficult to enforce and detrimental to the driver and passenger. The truth is companies are not afraid of gun owners like they are of the social media mob. Companies care about public perception and making a profit. Gun owners are not vocal, and don't boycott companies like anti-gun folks.
Here are some stories that reinforce the necessity of carrying your firearm, even in an Uber.
What do you all think about this?
Have you thought about defending yourself with a firearm while inside a vehicle? We have a course designed around that very thing. It is called Vehicle Firearm Tactics and is available as a DVD or online.
And for those among you who can't get enough reading, or for those of you who are questioning whether or not armed Uber drivers and riders are a good thing, below is just a small list of defensive gun uses involving folks in an Uber. Just perform an internet search on something like: “uber driver assaulted” and you will find many more stories like these here.