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Uber says no guns in cars, changing policy

The ride-hailing firm updates its terms and bans firearms for both drivers and passengers using its services.

To beef up safety measures, Uber now bans the possession of firearms by drivers and riders. Getty Images

Uber, the ride-hailing company based in San Francisco, has reworked its legal policies to include a ban on firearm possession by its drivers and passengers.

"We seek to ensure that everyone using the Uber digital platform...feels safe and comfortable," the new policy reads. "Uber and its affiliates therefore prohibit possessing firearms of any kind in a vehicle." Those found violating the rule may lose access to Uber's services.

The update was first reported by the New Republic, amid news of Wednesday's shootings in Charleston, SC, where a 21-year-old white man opened fire at the historically black Emanuel A.M.E. Church, killing nine people.

Uber has noted, however, that its policy change was made June 10 -- a week before the shootings occurred. The company said it made the change "after assessing existing policies and carefully reviewing recent feedback from both riders and driver-partners."

In March, Uber announced it would amp up efforts to increase rider safety, after a number of passengers had accused drivers of crimes including assault, kidnapping and rape.

A month later, however, an Uber driver in Chicago pulled his shotgun out minutes after dropping off his passengers. The man had a permit to carry a concealed weapon and drew his gun after seeing another man firing into a crowd of people.

After that incident, an Uber spokesperson told NBC Chicago that "the company requires all its drivers to abide by local, state and federal laws pertaining to transporting firearms in vehicles."

Meanwhile, Uber's biggest competitor, Lyft, had a no-weapons policy already in place.

Uber makes the leading car -hailing app, which serves as a connection between people looking for a ride and drivers willing to give one, using their own vehicle. Uber takes a cut of the fee. In May, The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources that said the privately held company is planning to raise $2 billion in funding, which would bring its total value to $50 billion and make it the most valuable startup since Facebook.