Chicago Uber driver accused of carrying a gun

An ABC7 I-Team Exclusive

Jason Knowles Image
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
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A local Uber driver is accused of carrying by a passenger who says she saw her driver wearing the weapon against Uber policy.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A local Uber driver is accused of carrying by a passenger who says she saw her driver wearing the weapon against Uber policy.

The passenger tweeted Uber and tagged ABC7 with her concerns. She sad when she took an Uber ride, her driver was carrying a gun. While it may not be illegal for a driver with the proper permits to carry a gun, Uber tells the I-Team it is against company policy.

"I don't want Uber drivers to be carrying guns, I want to feel safe when I'm in the car with somebody," says Kit Graham.

Graham turned to social media after she says she saw a gun holstered on her UberX driver's hip during a ride from Little Italy to Old Town.

"I was in an UberX and he had a gun in a holster and it was on the right side of his body," she says. "And because I was sitting diagonally across from him I could clearly see, it was very visible and it just made me uncomfortable that I could actually see the gun on him."

Graham tweeted Uber to complain and posted the driver's information on Facebook, she says to warn her friends.

In its policy, Uber says it prohibits possessing firearms of any kind in a vehicle. Uber says drivers who violate the rule could lose access to the platform. Lyft also has a no weapons policy.

In Illinois, it is legal to carry a gun with a proper permit in your car if it's stored or not immediately accessible and unloaded. A loaded gun can be carried in a vehicle with a concealed carry permit.

"If he feels the need to have a gun on him, for whatever reason, it could be in the glove box and not visible to the passengers, it just made me really uncomfortable," Graham says.

Last year, the I-Team had an exclusive behind the scenes look at how Uber conducts its seven-year background checks. Those include criminal records at local, state and federal levels and the national sex offender registry.

As for the driver:

"They did explain to me that it's clearly against the rules for an Uber driver to be carrying a weapon in the car with them and they said they were going to follow up with the driver, but I never heard back and I do think they refunded me for the cost of that trip but they weren't very specific at all," Graham says.

Uber tells the I-Team that the driver is no longer on the platform. Graham says she still uses UberX but she's concerned with the complaint process.

"They're not easy to get a hold of," she says. "There's no clear customer service number on their website; that was the first route I tried to take."

Late Monday, Uber officials said they do not plan to change current background checks. The company has also shelved any plan to implement a "panic button, something that had been talked about months ago.