People who fire guns at drones are endangering the public and property and could be prosecuted or fined, the Federal Aviation Administration warned last week. The FAA released a statement in response to questions about an ordinance under consideration in the tiny farming community of Deer Trail, Colorado, that would encourage hunters to shoot down the flying aircraft.
The council of Deer Trail (pop. 546) is considering issuing licenses to bounty hunters to take down any federal unmanned aircraft that impinges upon the “sovereignty of its airspace.” According to the proposed ordinance, which will be considered by the town council at its next meeting on Aug. 6, prospective bounty hunters can get a one-year drone-hunting license for $25.
Shooters must use shotguns, 12 gauge or smaller, firing lead, steel or depleted uranium ammunition, and they can’t fire on aircraft flying higher than 1,000. No weapons with rifled barrels allowed, and no tracer rounds.
The council would pay $100 for mostly intact drones, or $25 for parts thereof, so long as the pieces have federal markings and the “trophies” become property of Deer Trail.
Resident Phillip Steel said he wrote the ordinance after he learned the Federal Aviation Administration “loosened regulations that would allow the flight of drones in domestic airspace.” “Is it illegal? Of course it is. But it’s also illegal to spy on American citizens,” Steel told CNN in a phone interview. “If they fly in town, we will shoot them down.” The FAA 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.”