Last week, I wrote in my column that “So far, consensus around the FAA’s thinking indicates that domestic drones would not be approved to fly with weapons.”
That was in reference to the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement that it will ease restrictions on civilian use of unmanned drones for use in surveillance and research. The institutions most interested in using drones are law enforcement entities ranging from the FBI to local police departments.
Now, consider this:
Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone.
“Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),” McDaniel told The Daily.
Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer was criticized last week for saying, “I don’t want regulations, I don’t want restrictions, I want a ban on this.” Call it a slippery slope or inevitable logic, but Krauthammer’s instinct was right. Regulations and restrictions open the door for interpretations like the Texas sheriff’s office; i.e. that a drone – apparently unlike a police cruiser or helicopter – is a physical extension of a cop and should be equipped with rubber bullets and tear gas. If this is allowed, there is no logical reason to prohibit other more lethal devices.
In his comments, Krauthammer said that “the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that’s been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country.”
Not if the drone shoots him first.