An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed a law that would allow property owners to shoot down or capture drones flying over their property without legal liability.
The bill was borne as the result of a number of incidents across the country involving property owners who faced civil liability after shooting down or capturing trespassing drones.
According to the bill, “Any person owning or controlling real estate or other premises who voluntarily damages or destroys a drone located on the real estate or premises or within the airspace of the real estate or premises not otherwise regulated by the Federal Aviation shall, together with any successors in interest, if any, not be civilly liable for causing the damage or destruction to the property of such person.”
While US law does not currently recognize aerial trespass, the state of Oklahoma -backed by a 1946 Supreme Court ruling- wants to defend property rights up to 83 feet in the air.
Unfortunately, the bill may crash on takeoff due to an FAA claim that drones are regarded as aircraft and thus are illegal to shoot down.
“A private citizen shooting at any aircraft – including unmanned aircraft – poses a significant safety hazard,” an FAA spokesman told Ars Technica via e-mail. “An unmanned aircraft hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air. Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in a civil penalty from the FAA and/or criminal charges filed by federal, state or local law enforcement.”
The bill -proposed by Republican State Senator Ralph Shortey- could set precedent if it becomes law. He reportedly told local media on Monday that the bill would be taken up by the full state senate either “this week or next.”
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