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LawCall - Drone

Pretty harmless request, no? Just like the remote control cars and sailboats that Santa has brought Christmases past, right? Well, maybe not so fast, my friends.

While the drone may sound like a perfectly innocent Christmas list item, please remember they have cameras attached. And therein is the potential problem.

Imagine the ruckus when the teenaged girls from down the street gather poolside this summer. Junior and his buddies will most likely have their “toy” drone in the air floating around the blue sky above, with pictures streaming to their laptops. Really harmless fun, but you can see the problems that could ensue, and none of it is pretty.

Already in New Jersey, a guy shot down his neighbor’s drone with a shot gun. The shooter was arrested for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal mischief.

The Federal Aviation Administration has already stated that “shooting an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”

Of course, drones serve a purpose.  The government uses them to bomb the bad guys, and they’re apparently a photographer’s secret weapon.   Drones are now a part of our lives whether we see them or not.

Probably the best use that I’m aware of is a case in North Dakota, where police used a drone to track down drunk drivers, who ran after being pulled over for driving erratically. Instead of chasing them on-foot, police put into the air a drone that tracked them down. The four underage suspects were arrested.

The FAA forbids drones from flying any higher than 400 feet lest they should interfere with air traffic. And it is required that any flight within five miles of an airport be reported to the tower in advance.

How many teenagers are going to know these rules, much less observe them? Just tell your son that the government has banned drones for private use. In this day and time, they’ll surely believe you.

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