According to the Daily Beast, North Dakota is the first state that will now allow drones armed with tasers and other “non-lethal weapons” to be flown by police departments.
The bill originally was designed to outlaw the police to arm drones with weapons, however, amendments were suggested by Bruce Beckett, a lobbyist for the NDPOA, (the North Dakota Peace Officers Association) that would allow the use of weapons like tasers and bean bag guns to be added to the drones for police purposes.
The President of the NDPOA, Mike Reitan said that the bill would have required police departments to obtain a warrant in order for police departments to fly a drone during a police operation – something that isn’t required for helicopters. Mr. Reitan added that the conversation to add non-lethal weapons to drones was based around any future developments in drone technology.
As the Daily Beast so eloquently pointed out, non-lethal weapons have the potential to kill. In fact, over 500 people between 2001 and 2013 have been killed by stun guns.
While the bill doesn’t go as far as the drone missions that are used on oversea targets, it did raise some eyebrows here at Locklip.com as to the possible ethics involved when someone should be able to remotely use a taser or other weapons on someone.
Commercial drone use is at a crossroads in the United States. We’re all still waiting with baited breath to see what the Federal Aviation Administration is going to do regarding regulations for personal drones that fly in public airspace. California recently passed a bill that could potentially outlaw the flying of drones lower than 350 feet over private property. However, we’re unclear if that regulation would include government or police drones.
Here at Locklip, we believe the think-tank, the Brookings Institute put it best when they said it’s the “Wild West” for drones in the United States right now.