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Uber to ban guns from its cabs

Taxi-hailing app company Uber is banning its passengers and drivers from carrying guns.

Uber Technologies says it is prohibiting firearms of any kind during rides arranged through the Uber platform and drivers or passengers who break the rule may lose access to the platform. The rules also apply to Uber's affiliates.

The company said it changed its firearms policy on June 10 to make sure customers and drivers felt comfortable. In a statement it said it made the change after reviewing feedback from both passengers and Uber drivers. Previously it had deferred to local law on the issue.

San Francisco-based Uber lets passengers summon cars through an app in more than 250 cities worldwide and the privately-held company is valued at around 40 billion dollars (£25.3bn).

But it has faced legal and regulatory challenges as it expands in the United States and abroad and has also been criticised over the thoroughness of its background checks on drivers and other safety issues.

In April, an Uber driver with a concealed-carry permit shot a 22-year-old man who had opened fire on a group of pedestrians in Chicago. Court records say the man was shooting at pedestrians who were walking in front of the Uber driver's vehicle and the driver shot the gunman.

The driver was not charged, as prosecutors said he acted in defence of himself and others.

Competitor Lyft also has a no-weapons policy. According to Lyft's website, if a driver or passenger is found to have a weapon in a Lyft vehicle they will be barred from the platform regardless of local laws on weapons possession.

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