Society

Deer Trail, Colo. Residents Shoot Down Drone Hunting Proposal

| by Jared Keever

Residents of Deer Trail, Colo., voted down a proposal Monday that would have allowed them to shoot down unmanned drones. According to a story by Denver ABC affiliate, 7 News, 73 percent of voters in the Eastern Colorado community rejected the ordinance that would have allowed the city to issue hunting permits for drones owned by the federal government.

"We do not want drones in town," said Phillip Steel, who drafted the ordinance as a symbolic protest. "They fly in town, they get shot down.”

The law, had it been passed, would have paid out a $100 bounty for a drone with U.S. government markings. 

Steel drafted his proposal last year after learning that the Federal Aviation Administration had “loosened regulations that would allow the flight of drones in domestic airspace.” 

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Congress asked the FAA to put together a plan that would help integrate drones into U.S. airspace by September, 2015. Thirteen states have already issued laws regarding the use of the vehicles and others are being considered in at least three more states.

The FAA monitored the special election closely and issued a statement prior to the vote. 

"Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane," it read.

In order to get his proposal on a ballot, Steel had to get 19 residents of the 550-resident town to sign a petition. He turned in 23 signatures. But not all residents supported the proposal.

Daniel Domanoski told CNN in December that the ordinance was a “ridiculous thing and embarrassing to the town.”

Others embraced the idea as a novelty and thought that passage of the law could promote tourism. 

“This could bring in some free money -- that’s why I’m all for it,” Deer Trail’s Mayor Frank Fields told Businessweek.

It is estimated that by 2020 there could be as many as 7,500 commercial drones operating in U.S. airspace.

Sources: 7 News Denver, CNN, Businessweek