No guns allowed in Uber vehicles

In this Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 photo, a woman leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. Venture capitalists poured a whopping $48.3 billion into U.S. startup companies last year, investing at levels that haven't been seen since before the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, according to a new report issued Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. The two biggest deals in 2014 were separate rounds of investment in Uber Technologies, the high-flying and controversial ride-hailing service, now valued at $41 billion. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Keep your guns out of Uber cars, please.

That’s the new directive from Uber Technologies to its drivers and passengers, according to the Associated Press, which reported that Uber’s gun policy was “based on feedback from riders and drivers.”

One local Uber rider, lawyer Vernon Glenn, questioned how the company’s new policy could be put in place.

Glenn said the concept “certainly sounds nice and safe but I ... really don’t know, short of patting down the customer or patting down the driver, how someone’s going to find out whether or not someone’s packing.”

For Glenn, who doesn’t own a gun, it’s not something he’s going to ponder when he’s using the service.

“It’s midnight. I’ve had four glasses of wine. I’m not about to drive my car. I call Uber. They’re there in six minutes,” he said. “The last thing I’m really thinking about is do you have a weapon.”

In an emailed statement to The Post and Courier, Uber said: “We have adopted a no-firearms policy to ensure people are safe and comfortable using Uber. We made this policy change after assessing our existing policies and reviewing recent feedback from both riders and drivers.”

The company did not say how it plans to enact the policy.

People who don’t follow the rule could be banned from using Uber, the AP reported.

Stephen Webb, an Uber driver who lives downtown, said that in Charleston he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to have a gun with him.

“Having made 1,600 trips, I think I’m qualified to make this analogy. ... I would say that 99.99 percent of the 1,600 rides ... are generally a very sophisticated lot that are technically adept, modern-thinking, open-minded,” Webb said. “I have found ... that same percentage literally to be polite enough for me to want them to have back in my car, so I think the demographic that uses Uber as a transportation (service), the absolute vast majority would not be gun-toting individuals, at least in the Lowcountry.”

Even so, it’s a smart move if you’re Uber, he said.

“I think it’s wise,” he said. “I think it might be a little irresponsible of them to not take a stance.”

The company’s policy reportedly was implemented on June 10, which was before the slaying of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston.

Uber is a particularly hot topic in South Carolina, where a bill to regulate the company passed the state legislature last week. Gov. Nikki Haley will have the next say as to whether the legislation becomes law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Allison Prang at 937-5705 or on Twitter @AllisonPrang.