Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:56 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (27)
  • Print

FAA warns public against shooting guns at drones

Responding to an ordinance proposed in a Colorado town that would encourage hunters to shoot down drones, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that anyone doing so could be prosecuted for endangering people and property.

The Associated Press

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
I guess politicians really are dumber than a boulder. Even I can see how angry and... MORE
Shooting at drones can make them crash? Isn't that the point? MORE
You want to write them off as a bunch of backwoods hicks, but hearing how many drones... MORE

advertising

WASHINGTON — People who fire guns at drones are endangering the public as well as property and could be prosecuted or fined, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned Friday.

The FAA released a statement in response to questions about an ordinance under consideration in the tiny farming community of Deer Trail, Colo., that would encourage hunters to shoot down drones. The administration reminded the public that it regulates the nation’s airspace, including the airspace over cities and towns.

A drone “hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air,” the statement said. “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”

Under the proposed ordinance, Deer Trail would grant hunting permits to shoot drones. The permits would cost $25 each. The town would also encourage drone hunting by awarding $100 to anyone who presents a valid hunting license and identifiable pieces of a drone that has been shot down.

Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, 48, author of the proposal, said in an interview that he has 28 signatures on a petition — roughly 10 percent of the town’s registered voters. Under Colorado law, that requires local officials to formally consider the proposal at a meeting next month, he said. Town officials would have the option of adopting the ordinance or putting it on the ballot in an election this fall, he said.

The proposed ordinance is mostly a symbolic protest against small, civilian drones that are coming into use in the United States, Steel said. He acknowledged it’s unlikely there are any drones in use near Deer Trail.

“I don’t want to live in a surveillance society. I don’t feel like being in a virtual prison,” Steel said. “This is a pre-emptive strike.”

He dismissed the FAA’s warning. “The FAA doesn’t have the power to make a law,” he said.

The FAA is working on regulations to safely integrate drones into the skies over the U.S., where manned aircraft are prevalent. Congress gave the FAA until 2015 to develop the regulations, but the agency is behind schedule.

FAA officials have estimated that once regulations are in place, thousands of drones will be in use across the country for a wide variety of purposes, from helping farmers figure out which crops need watering to tracking sea lions in remote rocky outcroppings to aiding search and rescue missions.

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Hurry! Last two weeks to save 15%.

Hurry! Last two weeks to save 15%.

Reserve your copy of "The Seattle Sketcher," the long-awaited book by staff artist Gabriel Campanario, for the special price of just $29.95.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising

The Seattle Times photographs

Seattle space needle and mountains

Purchase The Seattle Times images


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►