Uber is facing a class action lawsuit from one of their drivers in Florida against their no guns policy, claiming it violates his rights to bear arms.
Jose Mejia reportedly has a Florida concealed-carry license and drives for Uber in Miami.
Mejia, in the lawsuit, pointed out that he does not feel safe in his vehicle without his firearm. "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," he said in an interview with WPLG. He reportedly cited a law passed in Florida in 2008 that allows employees to keep their registered firearms in their cars in the company parking lot, for "for self-defense and other lawful purposes".
"As far as I'm concerned, Uber is completely overreaching," attorney Elizabeth Lee Beck said in a statement. She added that state and federal laws are in favour of contractors such as Uber drivers who in any other setting would be within their rights to legally carry weapons up to the parking lot of their employers.
Florida-based gun rights specialist Jon Gutmacher, in a statement with the Trace, said that this class action suit holds merit as Uber drivers use their own cars, not one leased out or owned by the company they work for.
In a statement, Mejia spoke about a previous incident that took place in December 2016 in Miami where an Uber driver shot and killed an armed assailant with his registered firearm who cut him off and approached the cab with two guns. "Imagine if he had not had his weapon -- he wouldn't be alive today," he said.
Uber does not allow guns on board in any vehicle registered with them, it is reported. This policy stands for passengers as well as drivers. On the company's policy page regarding firearms, they have mentioned that "Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms of any kind in a vehicle while using our app." Anyone violating this no-gun policy might be banned, the policy states.
There have been several reported cases of Uber drivers and passengers getting involved with gunfire. On 25 June this year, there was a report filed by WFLA about a firearm being discharged in a struggle between an Uber driver and two passengers in Miami. There were no injuries reported.
In April 2015, an Uber driver reportedly shot and wounded a gunman who had opened fire at a group of people in Logan Square Chicago, reported the Chicago Tribune. This driver was also carrying a licensed, registered weapon.
Another case involved an Uber driver allegedly pointing his gun at passengers, demanding that they exit his vehicle in April this year, reports the DailyMail.
It is not known if these drivers were banned from using the Uber app.