A South Florida Uber driver is finally challenging the ride-sharing company’s no-gun policy.
Jose Mejia, who has been a part-time driver for Uber for over a year now, filed a class action lawsuit earlier this month, claiming the company is infringing on his Second Amendment rights.
Since 2015, Uber has prohibited all drivers and riders from carrying inside any vehicle while using the app, even if that person is legally permitted to carry in that state.
The policy change came after an Uber driver – with a valid concealed carry permit – used his legally owned firearm to stop a gunman who had opened fire on a group of people in Chicago. The driver was clearly acting in self-defense and the defense of others and was not found guilty of any wrongdoing. And yet Uber still decided to strip all of its drivers, and passengers, of their gun rights – and ultimately their ability to defend themselves – as a result.
Now many Uber employees, including Mejia, say they feel unsafe on the job. And rightfully so.
“I’m not able to protect myself or defend myself,” Mejia tells ABC Local 10 News. “And remember, we have regular cars. There’s not a divider between us and the passenger, or nothing of that nature.”
Mejia goes on to explain an incident from last December in which another Uber driver was robbed at gunpoint while giving a ride.
Thankfully, the driver was carrying – despite the company’s no-gun policy – and was able to protect himself and his passengers.
“Imagine if he had not had his weapon,” Mejia tells the ABC affiliate. “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 the incident is what ultimately pushed him to file the suit.
To help build his case, Mejia extensively cites a 2008 Florida statute, which guarantees Florida gun owners the right to transport and store a firearm in their vehicle (emphasis mine):
[Florida residents have] a constitutional right to possess and keep legally owned firearms within their motor vehicles for self-defense and other lawful purposes, and that these rights are not abrogated by virtue of a citizen becoming a customer, employee, or invitee of a business entity.
According Jon Gutmacher, a Florida attorney and gun-rights specialist, Mejia’s suit definitely has merit.
“Were this a company car or a car leased by the company, it would be an entirely different story,” he tells The Trace. “But Uber drivers use their own vehicles.”
Attorney Elizabeth Lee Beck seems to have the same idea.
“As far as I’m concerned, Uber is completely overreaching,” she tells ABC Local 10 News.
“You have the fact that Uber drivers, by the very nature of their job, are on public roads. They are not on Uber’s property. They are on public roads in their vehicle,” she adds.
Unfortunately, Uber isn’t the only ride-sharing company with a no gun-policy. Lyft also bans its drivers and passengers from carrying any type of weapon, “regardless of whether possession is legal where they are.”
When will these companies learn that the only people these policies are keeping safe are the criminals?