An Uber driver in Florida defied the company’s new policy to ban drivers from carrying concealed weapons, and he might be alive today because of his decision.
Police say driver Steven Rayow had just picked up his passenger, Marc Memel, when the two got in an altercation that turned violent. That’s when Rayow pulled his firearm and shot Memel in self-defense, according to ABC Action News.
“The driver basically told us that the passenger started choking him. He had his hands around his neck, and in fear of losing consciousness, that’s when the driver of the car pulled out a gun, and in the ensuing struggle, that gun went off,” police spokesman Rob Shaw said.
Memel was shot in the foot, and has since been released from a local hospital.
Rayow, a retired New York City Police officer with a concealed weapons permit, is not facing any charges at this point in the investigation.
Uber announced a strict “no-gun” policy on June 19, saying the prohibition on weapons would apply to both passengers and drivers. The company claimed the policy was needed to ensure “a safe environment,” but Second Amendment proponents warned that drivers and passengers could be put at risk without the means to defend themselves.
Some of the witnesses interviewed by News Channel 8 said they were uncomfortable with the idea of an Uber driver carrying a lawfully concealed firearm.
“It’s a little crazy to think about that because, from what I believe, taxi drivers aren’t allowed to have firearms. So I don’t know if Uber drivers should really have firearms,” one bystander told the local news station.
Memel told ABC Action News that he was “shocked” the driver had a gun.
Of course, surprising would-be assailants is kind of the point of a concealed weapon.
An Uber spokeman told Channel 8 that Rayow is no longer driving for the company.