Small Colorado Town To Vote On Shooting Drones

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The small town of Deer Trail, Colo., is considering a measure that would allow the town to sell licenses to shoot down drones.

The licenses — which would only be valid in Deer Trail — would cost $25 and could be sold to anyone who is able to read and understand English.

"It not just the government spying on the American people — it's not paranoia — corporations want to gather real-time marketing data," Deer Trail resident Philip Steele, who drafted the ordinance, told Here & Now. "You want to sell your house, the buyer's Realtor can get video from a drone about your neighbors. It may even extend into racial profiling of neighborhoods and things of that nature."

The ordinance was supposed to come to a vote in August, but the town board of six was evenly split on the question. The decision was moved to the voters, and a vote scheduled for this month has been moved to December 10.

Steele thinks the measure has a good chance of passing.

If the measure passes, people who shoot down drones would be eligible for a bounty — $25 for parts and $100 for a whole craft. The ordinance would limit shooting to daylight hours and only allow shooting of unmanned aerial vehicles flying lower than 1,000 feet over private property.

Some people in town are excited about the idea. By the middle of August, Deer Trail town hall had already received close to 1,000 checks for drone hunting licenses, according to the Denver Post.

The Federal Aviation Administration is not excited though. It released a statement earlier this summer in response to the ordinance saying: "Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane."


  • Philip Steele, Deer Trail resident who drafted the measure on licensing for shooting drones.

This segment aired on October 22, 2013.


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