A Florida Uber driver is challenging a policy that bars the company’s drivers from carrying firearms on the job.
Jose Mejia filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Uber, citing Florida’s Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008. The purpose of the Florida law is to protect the “constitutional right to possess and keep legally owned firearms within their motor vehicles for self-defense and other lawful purposes.”
In an interview with a local news station, Mejia referenced an incident where another Florida Uber driver was held at gunpoint by a would-be robber. The driver was armed–against Uber’s policies–and shot the robber, but Mejia said incidents like that make him concerned for his own safety.
“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,” said Mejia, who has been driving for Uber for a year and a half.
According to the Miami New Times, Mejia said, “It’s very unfortunate when you have a huge corporation like this making money on the backs of others, and then, on top of that, they allow these individuals to be in precarious situations.”
SEE ALSO: UBER Driver Disregards Company’s ‘Gun-Free Zone’ Policy, Shoots Passenger Who Was Choking Him
Uber hasn’t always banned weapons. The company only added the prohibition to its policies after John Hendricks, a Chicago Uber driver with a concealed carry license shot and wounded an active shooter two years ago. The shooter, Everardo Custodio, had begun firing rounds into a crowd in Logan Square, a historic area in northwest Chicago. When Hedricks, a veteran, shot Custodio, he effectively ended the shooting until police arrived. No charges were filed against Hedricks, but at the time liberal media outlet the New Republic published a piece criticizing the driver:
Reporter Naomi Shavin wrote, “It’s quite possible the driver saved one or more people’s lives. But it’s also unnerving: Why is he driving around with a shotgun in his car while he’s on the job? No doubt many of his passengers would have preferred to know as much—ideally before getting into his car.”
Soon after, news outlets observed that Uber quietly revised its policies. In an effort to make both drivers and customers feel “safe,” Uber’s new policy banned the possession of firearms “of any kind in a vehicle.”
Before the change, Uber’s prior policy was to require “all its drivers to abide by local, state, and federal laws pertaining to transporting firearms in vehicles.”
Mejia’s lawsuit comes on the heels another lawsuit, where Uber agreed to a $20 million payout over misleading prospective drivers about how much they might earn with the ride-sharing app. Uber is also in the midst of a high-profile lawsuit involving a Texas resident who was raped by her Uber driver while traveling in India.