I’ve watched ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft with a great deal of interest. The idea of having a system where vehicle owners can connect with people wanting ride to the benefit of both appeals to me. But I’ve always been put off by both services’ centralized nature. Centralized systems are too easy for the state to regulate or shutdown and lend themselves too well to the central authority placing every stricter rules on the users. Uber has decided to flex its centralized power by banning both drivers and passengers from carrying firearms while using its service:
Uber Technologies says it is banning firearms of any kind during rides arranged through the Uber platform, and drivers or riders who violate the rule may lose access to the platform. The rules also apply to Uber’s affiliates.
The company said Friday it changed its firearms policy on June 10 to make sure riders and drivers feel comfortable. In a statement, Uber said it made the change after reviewing feedback from both passengers and Uber drivers. Previously it had deferred to local law on the issue.
I could point out concealed means concealed and that Uber doesn’t have an legal authority so carrying while using its service isn’t criminal. But I firmly believe if a company doesn’t want to do business with me then I don’t want to do business with it. I’m also of the opinion that it should be up to the driver, the person who owns the vehicle after all, to decide what they do and do not want to allow in their vehicle. A decentralized ride sharing service would allows drivers to make such decisions.
This announcement is rather ironic though. Whereas most companies that announce gun prohibitions don’t have a history involving firearms Uber does. One of its drivers actually prevented a mass shooting:
A group of people had been walking in front of the driver around 11:50 p.m. Friday in the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue when Everardo Custodio, 22, began firing into the crowd, Quinn said.
The driver pulled out a handgun and fired six shots at Custodio, hitting him several times, according to court records. Responding officers found Custodio lying on the ground, bleeding, Quinn said. No other injuries were reported.
With this new policy Uber is effectively saying it would have preferred if more people had died in that incident. I don’t want to do business with a company that doesn’t want to do business with me and I certainly don’t want to do business with a company that would rather people die than its drivers and passengers be armed.