FAA Warns Against Shooting Down Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration warned the public against shooting down drones. The FAA explained that people who fire their guns at the unmanned planes could be prosecuted or fined for endangering the public and property.

The announcement was made in response to a proposed Colorado law that would award bounties to people who shoot down drones. The administration reminded that it is responsible for regulating airspace.

Deer Trail, Colorado is considering an ordinance to encourage hunters to shoot at the unmanned aerials, reports Yahoo! News. But the FAA stated:

"[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. Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane."

The proposed ordinance, which was authored by Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, would grant hunters permits to shoot drones down. The permits would cost $25. The town would also encourage hunting the unmanned aircraft by awarding successful hunters with $100 per drone.

Steel explained that it is unlikely there are any drones being used near Deer Trail and the ordinance is more a symbolic protest against the use of civil drones in the United States. The Huffington Post reports that Steel explained, "I don't want to live in a surveillance society. I don't feel like being in a virtual prison. This is a pre-emptive strike."

Steel has 28 signatures on his petition to consider the ordinance to shoot down drones. Under Colorado, that means local officials will have to consider the proposal at a meeting next month. But given the FAA's warning of possible criminal charges for shooting at drones, it is unlikely the proposal will pass.

Still, the Deer Trail proposal is just one of several in a spreading backlash against the use of drones. Dozens of laws have been introduced in states and cities to ban the use of the unmanned aircraft. It is not known what the effect of the FAA's warning will have on the proposed laws.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]