Connecticut may be the first state in the country to allow police officers to put deadly weapons on drones. Some states have discussed equipping drones with tasers but this is the first proposal to arm them with deadly weapons. Lawmakers in the state are proposing a law that would actually ban the use of weaponized drones for the average citizen while opening the door for police officers to do so.
Sen. John Kissel, a supporter of the measure told FOX 5 that, “Obviously this is for very limited circumstances. We can certainly envision some incident on some campus or someplace where someone is a rogue shooter or someone was kidnapped and you try to blow out a tire.”
However, as expected, activist and human rights groups have spoken out against the new proposal.
“We have huge concerns that they would use this new technology to abuse our communities,“ Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP said.
Esdaile is right. While it hasn’t taken place inside the borders of the United States, for more than a decade, the US has been terrorizing and abusing communities across the Middle East — raining down hell from above — with the use of drone technology. The war was bound to come home soon.
David McGuire, executive director of the state ACLU echoed these concerns, suggesting that, “We would be setting a dangerous precedent. It is really concerning and outrageous that that’s being considered in our state legislature. Lethal force raises this to a level of real heightened concern.”
There are some small concessions that are made in the proposal, including a requirement for officers to get a warrant before using weaponized drones. However, police often get warrants very easy in situations where they really aren’t justified. In many cases, it takes a simple five-minute phone call to a judge in order to get a warrant.
Also, as FOX 5 points out, police could forgo the warrant if there are emergency circumstances or the person who is the subject of the drone use gives permission.
Police claim that they would also be required to file a yearly report on how often and why they used the drones. However, if this reporting is anything like police reporting on the use of deadly force, it will be sparse at best and entirely false or non-existent at worst.
Democratic Bridgeport Sen. Edwin Gomes is one of the politicians who had reservations about the new law.
“I think that police are taught one thing. You put a weapon in their hand, they shoot center mass, they shoot to kill. If it’s going to be used, you’re going to use it to kill somebody,” Gomes said.
A spokesperson with the FAA said in a statement that they have no plans on preventing police departments from having weaponized drones. In fact, some states have already begun to pass legislation that would explicitly approve weaponized drones with tasers. In August 2015, North Dakota became the first state to pass legislation approving of such weapons, and now with large protests in the state surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, it is entirely possible that they will be in use soon.
To be clear, this new legislation takes this issue a step further and proposes the use of deadly weapons instead of non-lethal force. What could possibly go wrong?