Recently ride-sharing company Uber made the decision to bar both it’s drivers and their passengers from carrying guns in their vehicles, even in states where concealed carry is perfectly legal. The decision, made this past Friday on June 19, likely stems from the recent shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, or at least provides a timely cover for it. Logically speaking, there is no reason to think drivers or passengers would be made any more safe by banning guns during rides, particularly when considering that an armed Uber driver recently stopped an attempted mass shooting in Chicago.
I don’t intend to analyze the logic of Uber’s actions in this article. Rather, I intend to look at Uber’s hypocritical stance when it comes to dictating the conditions under which their drivers should operate. Many libertarians, including Target Liberty’s Robert Wenzel, will quickly point out that Uber is a private company, and should be able to dictate any rules it wishes upon it’s drivers as a condition of employment. Wenzel writes:
The libertarian position should be that every person should be free to carry a gun if they choose, and that is it.
Further, if a firm wants to ban gun carrying by its employees or on its property that is fine with me.
The libertarian position should be respect for private property and for the non-aggression principle. It should be silent on rules of individual firms on an issue and what it demands of individuals, as long the demands do not violate NAP.
On the surface, Wenzel is correct. A private firm should, in principle, be able to make rules to ban the carrying of guns by employees while on the job.
One problem with this theory? Uber claims it’s drivers are not employees.