GOP rep seeks ban on weaponized drones

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Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is filing legislation to prohibit the use of weaponized drones under new rules for non-military flights being considered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Burgess said the measure, which has been dubbed the No Armed Drones Act (NADA) of 2015, would prohibit “the Secretary of Transportation from authorizing the use of drones as weapons against any person or property in the national airspace.” 

“American citizens — past, present, and future — should never have to face the use of military tactics by agents of our justice system,” Burgess said in a statement. “Our founders envisioned a society where citizens would be innocent until proven guilty, and wouldn’t be treated like suspected criminals while going about their everyday lives.

“Arming a surveillance drone for day-to-day law enforcement purposes clearly violates those ideals of liberty and must be banned.”

{mosads}The FAA is currently taking comments on proposed rules to allow commercial drones that weigh less than 55 pounds to be flown in the U.S. 

The rules would greatly increase the domestic use of drones in a long-sought victory for advocates of the technology, but critics have raised concerns about potential privacy violations. 

The FAA’s rules define small drones as devices that weigh less than 55 pounds and require them to be operated at heights below 500 feet and speeds below 100 miles per hour.

The regulations also call for drone flights to be limited to daytime hours and conducted only by U.S. residents who are older than 17 years of age. Drone operators are also prohibited under the FAA proposal from conducting flights that take the devices out of their line of vision, which is a big blow to companies like Amazon, which has touted the possibility of using the technology to conduct deliveries. 

The rules make drone operators responsible for avoiding collisions with manned aircraft that are in the same airspace as the devices, and prohibit drone flights that “fly over people, except those directly involved with the flight.”  

Tags Drone FAA drone rules Michael Burgess Unmanned aerial vehicle

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