The fate of a small Colorado community’s proposal to allow people to shoot down drones will be decided by voters after town leaders failed to reach a decision.
With the Deer Trail town council voting 3-3 Tuesday night on a proposed ordinance to issue drone “hunting licenses,” the matter will be put to voters in November.
The proposed law, which would “defend the sovereign airspace of the town of Deer Trail,” also calls for a $100 reward for anyone with a valid license who shoots down a drone owned or operated by the federal government.
Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, who drafted the proposed ordinance, told Denver’s ABC affiliate KMGH it’s largely a symbolic effort aimed at keeping his community from becoming a “surveillance society.”
“And I believe we are heading that way,” he said.
Civic leaders also hope the hunting licenses, at a cost of $25 per year, would generate revenue and tourism for the farming town of 550 residents about 55 miles east of Denver.
But the Federal Aviation Administration, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s skies, has warned that anyone who fires weapons at drones are endangering the public and property, and could be prosecuted or fined.
At least 43 states have enacted or proposed about 100 drone-related bills and resolutions in the past year, with most aimed at regulating and restricting how they’re used, and who can use them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The flurry of legislative activity was prompted by last year’s FAA Reauthorization Act passed by Congress, which orders the FAA to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of drones for commercial and local and state government uses — including police — by 2015.