FAA warns public against shooting guns at drones

FAA warns public against shooting guns at drones

Credit: Getty Images

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, NV - AUGUST 08: An MQ-9 Reaper takes off August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Reaper is the Air Force's first "hunter-killer" unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly up to 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. They can fly twice as fast and high as the smaller MQ-1 Predators, reaching speeds of 300 mph at an altitude of up to 50,000 feet. The aircraft are flown by a pilot and a sensor operator from ground control stations. The Reapers are expected to be used in combat operations by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq within the next year. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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KMOV.com

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 19 at 2:55 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- People who fire guns at drones are endangering the public and property and could be prosecuted or fined, the Federal Aviation Administration 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 drowns. 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. Town officials would then 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 that 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.
 

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