I know Uber’s move to ban driver’s and rider’s from carrying guns was ostensible a CMA legal move (cover my ass), but that doesn’t negate the message that move sends to their employees.
That message is: It’s better and more convenient for you to be put in danger while doing your job than it is for you to have the ability to defend yourself. You are worth less to us than our legal department’s opinion.
Now let’s be clear. I like Uber. I like the entire concept of Uber and Lyft and other ridesharing apps. I’ve used Uber on several occassions and since it came about I have never used a non-Uber car service. I don’t like taxis (a combination of the smell, the rudeness, and too many episodes of crime shows where cabbies were the murderer) and all my Uber rides have been pleasant comparatively.
The recent ban of guns in Uber cabs may not effect me at all. I usually use Uber when I’m out of town without my car (my gun doesn’t come with me when I fly or take a train obviously, which means I am likely carrying pepper spray anyway), but it does effect the drivers who provide the service that has made Uber a multibillion dollar company.
If I worked for Uber there is no question as to whether I would be carrying a gun and the reason wouldn’t be because there is a possibility that I could stop a mass shooter at a crowded intersection (though that should be enough reason right there), but because of situations like this one, where an Uber driver was being assaulted (allegedly, but whatever) by his passenger.
On Sunday evening in Clearwater, Fla., Rayow went to pick up Marc Memel for a routine Uber trip. However, an argument quickly escalated into a physical confrontation all before the ride started.
The cause of the argument is not clear, but according to Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw, “The driver basically told us that the passenger started choking him. He had his hands around his neck, and in fear of losing consciousness, that’s when the driver of the car pulled out a gun, and in the ensuing struggle, that gun went off.”
– The Daily Caller
Uber is a service that employees people to pick up perfect strangers, drive them to wherever they want to go, and drop them off.
It’s a service where the customer is expected to get into the car of a perfect stranger and tell them where to drive them and assume the driver will get them there safely.
In neither case should either person be left defenseless. Not because I believe the driver or the passenger is likely to have anything violent in mind, but simply because that is a possibility, as it is in any situation.
Not all people are good people and taxi drivers and taxi passengers have both been on the recieving end of assault from the other. Why should Uber drivers and passengers be thought to be any less likely to do the same? I’m certain that Uber would block the driver or passenger from using their service the first time anything happened, but even once is too often.
Let’s face it. If an Uber driver or passenger is planning to assault or kill someone with a weapon of any kind, firearm or otherwise, they aren’t going to give a flying flip that Uber has banned guns in their cars.
Those that carry a weapon for self-defense are almost certainly only going to employ it for that purpose.
As with any other place that bans the carrying of firearms, the ban only effects those who don’t have anything illegal in mind in the first place.
Now I’m not saying Uber doesn’t have the right to have these rules. They absolutely do, they are a private company and they can choose to impose rules on their employees/contract workers, but you cannot deny that these rules will not make them feel safer by robbing them of the ability to defend themselves and by announcing to the world that Uber drivers are unarmed.
If I was an Uber employee, I would be looking for new employment options.