South Florida Uber driver sues company over right to carry gun on job

Jose Mejia, 28, says he no longer feels safe behind the wheel without weapon

KENDALL, Fla. – A South Florida Uber driver is at odds with the ride-sharing company, saying that he should have the right to carry a firearm while working.

Jose Mejia has been driving for Uber for the past year and a half.

"I do it on my own free time," he said.

But lately, the 28-year old part-time student said he doesn't feel safe behind the wheel.

"My rights are being infringed on, because I'm not able to lawfully carry my firearm," Mejia said. 

Mejia filed a class-action lawsuit in civil court against Uber because of its policy that bans drivers and passengers from carrying firearms, even if they're legally licensed to do so.

"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," Mejia said.

The turning point, Mejia said, was an incident last December when a different Uber driver was robbed at gunpoint during a ride.

A van cornered the Toyota on the William Lehman Causeway in Aventura.

But the Uber driver pulled out his own weapon and killed one of the two suspects on the spot.

"Imagine if he had not had his weapon -- he wouldn't be alive today, the passenger wouldn't be alive today and then what's Uber going to do? Issue a statement of apologies and that's it? What about his family?" Mejia said.

"As far as I'm concerned, Uber is completely overreaching," attorney Elizabeth Lee Beck said.

Lee Beck believes state and federal laws favor independent contractors such as Uber drivers, who in normal situations can conceal and carry legally up to the parking lot of their employer.

"You have the fact that Uber drivers, by the very nature of their job, are on public roads. They are not on Uber's property. They are on public roads in their vehicle," Lee Beck said. 

"We would like to make sure we get back home safely," Mejia added.

Uber declined to comment on the lawsuit to Local 10 News, citing the pending litigation.


About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.