Tags: colorado | town | rejects | drone | shoot | down

Colorado Town Rejects Plan to Let Residents Shoot Down Drones

Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 06:42 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Drones won’t join coyotes as prey on the dun-colored prairie after voters in Deer Trail, Colorado, population 563, turned down a proposal for the town to issue hunting licenses for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Phillip Steel, a 49-year-old welding inspector, had written the proposed law as a symbolic protest after hearing a news report that the federal government is drafting a plan to integrate drones into civilian airspace, he said. The measure would have set a bounty of as much as $100 for a drone with U.S. government markings.

The issue drew 188 voters in Deer Trail to cast ballots yesterday, with 24 percent in favor and 73 percent opposed.

“That plan is a taking of property rights, a taking of civil rights,” said Steel, who wears a black duster coat and a cowboy hat. “According to a 1964 Supreme Court decision, a property owner owns airspace up to 1,000 feet above the ground.”

The Deer Trail ordinance highlighted growing privacy concerns nationwide with the expanded use of camera-equipped drones, which can be as small as radio-controlled aircraft. Thirteen states enacted laws addressing use of the vehicles, and others are being considered in Indiana, Washington and Utah, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

The drone-hunting ordinance came against a backdrop of secession votes last year in 11 rural Colorado counties seeking to form a 51st state -- with five voting in favor of studying such a plan. The move also followed enactment of the toughest gun restrictions in the state in a decade, in response to a deadly shooting in an Aurora movie theater.

Shooting Drones

The Deer Trail proposal would have allowed those holding a $25 hunting license to shoot at drones within the one-square- mile town limits. Even if the ordinance had been approved, anyone who shot at a drone could have been subject to criminal or civil liability, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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 FAA said in a statement. “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”

Congress asked the FAA to develop a plan to integrate drones into U.S. airspace by September, 2015. The agency estimates about 7,500 commercial unmanned aircraft will be operating within five years of being allowed in U.S. airspace.

Drone Uses

So far, educational, law enforcement and military entities have applied for approval from the FAA to operate drones in the U.S., the agency said. The agency has approved 423 applications, FAA data show.

Unmanned aerial vehicles can be used by search and rescue officers to find missing children, to monitor weather or wildlife and to provide disaster relief, said Melanie Hinton, a spokeswoman for the Arlington, Virginia-based Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, in an e-mail.

“The myriad of important uses will be imperiled if they become targets,” Hinton said.

Steel was required to gather 19 signatures, or 5 percent of the registered voters in Deer Trail, to get the measure on the ballot. He turned in 23. Voter interest was high in the town, located about 56 miles (90 kilometers) east of Denver, said Mayor Frank Fields.

“This could bring in some free money -- that’s why I’m all for it,” Fields said.

The proposal would have allowed town officials to spend as much as $10,000 in municipal funds to “establish an unmanned aerial vehicle recognition program.” Shooters would have been restricted to private property and would have been limited to three shots per so-called engagement, “unless there exists an imminent threat to life and safety.”


© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

60,000 Veterans Get Triple Benefits

Saturday, 01 Nov 2014 08:31 AM

Nearly 60,000 veterans were triple dippers last year, drawing a total of $3.5 billion in military retirement pay plus ve . . .

California Storm Wets Giants Parade, Heads South

Saturday, 01 Nov 2014 07:51 AM

Authorities say several homes in Ventura County have been evacuated after mud and debris from a hillside struck at least . . .

Ferguson Shooting Spurs Sharpton Get-Out-The Vote Effort

Friday, 31 Oct 2014 22:03 PM

With Tuesday's midterm elections approaching, the memory of Michael Brown – the Ferguson, Mo. man shot to death by polic . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved