Rideshare drivers are among the most vulnerable to violent crime. Drivers and riders are subject to robberies, carjacking, and even sexual assault. Unfortunately, rideshare companies do not seem to take seriously the safety of those using the app to get to their destinations or using their vehicles to make some extra cash.
Both Uber and Lyft, the two preeminent rideshare apps, do not allow drivers or riders to carry firearms to protect themselves. While they allow non-lethal weapons, they have barred guns for people using their services. Fortunately, there are some who do not adhere to these rules. A recent story out of Chicago illustrates why these individuals are most in need of firearms:
The 26-year-old driver had dropped off a passenger about 1 a.m. in the 1500 block of South Millard Avenue when two people – a man, 20, and an 18-year-old woman – walked up to him and announced a robbery, according to Chicago police.
The male suspect took the victim’s cell phone, then fired shots as the two robbers tried to flee the scene, police said.
The driver, who has a valid concealed carry license, returned fire, striking the man in the leg and grazing the woman in the arm, police said. The driver was not injured.
The driver in this story was able to defend himself because he chose to carry a gun in violation of the company’s rules. Unfortunately, others have not been so fortunate. Another driver in Chicago was killed in a drive-by shooting earlier this year:
A rideshare driver was killed and his passenger was injured in a drive-by shooting on Monday night, Chicago police said.
The shooting happened in the 1000-block of West Roosevelt Road in Little Italy at about 9:08 p.m., police said. The vehicle was stopped at a red light when four male suspects in a silver SUV pulled alongside it and opened fire.
The rideshare driver, a 31-year-old man, was shot multiple times in the torso and transported to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. The passenger, a 34-year-old man, was transported to the same hospital in fair condition with gunshot wounds to his legs. He is expected to recover.
Both Uber and Lyft do not allow drivers to carry firearms while working on their platforms – even in areas that allow lawful gun owners to have them in public.
These two stories further highlight the importance of the right to keep and bear arms. This is especially true for Americans working in risky professions like ridesharing. In the first story, the driver was placed into a deadly situation in the blink of an eye. If he had not possessed a firearm, he could have been seriously hurt or killed.
The companies’ supposed concerns about passengers or drivers feeling uncomfortable because of the presence of firearms should not overshadow the reality that people have the right to defend themselves. A gun in the hands of a responsible individual can level the playing field when violent criminals do what violent criminals do. Unfortunately, these companies would rather have their workers and customers remain susceptible to being victimized by bad actors. The question is: How many people will have to be robbed, assaulted, or even murdered before they change this insane policy?