You can now ride with a little more ease. Uber Technologies Inc. cars can no longer carry firearms, as both drivers and passengers have been banned from possessing a gun while in Uber-powered vehicles.
First reported by the New Republic, the update was discovered on the legal section of Uber's website. The new policy is called "Uber Firearms Prohibition Policy" and is found on the "Other" section of Uber's legal page.
Previously, Uber's firearms policy was under the restriction of local or state laws, which vary. Some states allow the open carry of a firearm, even without a registered license. For example, Nebraska and Nevada permit carrying a firearm in a vehicle if it is clearly visible. In Pennsylvania, drivers must have licenses for the weapons, but that is not the case for Tennessee.
There is not a U.S. federal law that addresses gun carrying in vehicles. However, Uber's new policy now makes it a companywide mandate across all states and the 57 countries where Uber operates.
Uber has previously faced backlash for allowing firearm possession, especially after a case in Chicago where an Uber driver took out a gun and shot another gunman. Competitor ride-hailing app Lyft already had a "No Weapons" policy that forbids drivers and passengers from possessing a weapon of any kind. Lyft said it has "sole judgment on what constitutes a weapon." Uber's policy, however, is restricted to firearms, legally defined in the United States as a weapon that can fire a projectile through an explosive charge.
"We have adopted a no-firearms policy to ensure that both riders and drivers feel safe and comfortable on the platform. We made this policy change after assessing existing policies and carefully reviewing recent feedback from both riders and driver-partners," an Uber spokesperson wrote in a statement to the New Republic.
Uber's new policy reads: "We seek to ensure that everyone using the Uber digital platform -- both driver-partners and riders -- feels safe and comfortable using the service. During a ride arranged through the Uber platform, Uber and its affiliates therefore prohibit possessing firearms of any kind in a vehicle. Any rider or driver found to have violated this prohibition may lose access to the Uber platform."