SAN FRANCISCO—As of Friday, June 19, Uber drivers and passengers are no longer permitted to carry fire-arms per reversal in company policy. Citing safety and comfort as a top priority, Uber warned on its webpage that “any rider or driver found to have violated [this] prohibition may lose access to the Uber platform.” The prohibition also applies to Uber’s affiliates which include UberPop, UberPool, and the package delivery service Uber Rush.
Prior to this change, the company was compliant with local, state, and federal gun laws. Riders and drivers with weapon permits were welcome to use the service, while other competing ride-share services like Lyft denied their services to such passengers.
In April, a Chicago Uber driver with a concealed weapons permit shot and wounded Everardo Custodio, 22, in the Logan Square district of the city. Custodio was later arrested and hospitalized for his injuries. The driver was later determined to be acting in self-defense and not charged in the incident.
Uber has come under scrutiny in regards to the safety of its passengers not involving firearms. According to Who’s Driving You,, a website that promotes for-hire vehicle safety awareness, a number of incidents involving sexual assaults and even violent attacks have taken place at the hands of drivers hired by Uber or one of its affiliates. The website raises questions on whether these incidents highlight a need for stronger background checking policies for potential ride-service drivers.
Since its launch in 2010, Uber has attracted both praise and criticism from the public. USA Today named Uber its tech company of the year in 2013 while the Better Business Bureau gave it an “F” grade in 2014, citing misleading ride costs.