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Three bills look to limit use amid concerns that government is prepping for massive spy drone rollout

"Every single day / And every word you say / Every game you play, every night you stay / I'll be watching you
Oh, can't you see / You belong to me?

...that famous line of Sting and the Police perhaps best summarizes the warning delivered in a report released last week by the Congressional Research Service that suggests the growing army of drones flying over the U.S. airspace could be used to continuously monitor U.S. citizens.

I. Plans for Domestic Drone Spying Escalate 

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in a recent report that it expects 30,000 commercial and government drones to be flying over the U.S. airspace within 20 years.  The drones will be cheap, will be able to stay aloft continuously, and can even be as small as an insect (so-called "nano-drones").  All of that makes the perfect vehicle for something many great writers and philosophers have long feared -- ubiquitous, uninterrupted government surveillance.

While it sounds like a paranoid flight of fantasy, that's precisely the issue that was being discussed in last week's report.  It comments, "In the near future, law enforcement organizations might seek to outfit drones with facial recognition or soft biometric recognition, which can recognize and track individuals based on attributes such as height, age, gender and skin color."

Reaper drones
Reaper drones are currently being used over U.S. airspace. [Image Source: The Real Revo]

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) is among the major defense contractors field testing a model which could be used to ubiquitously spy on citizens of both America and foreign nations -- a flyer named "Stalker".  Stalker drones get a charge from ground-based lasers, allowing them to continuously stay aloft, surveying individuals 24-7 in an urban landscape.  Solar panels have also been explored as a way of keeping drones aloft.

Stalker Drone
The Stalker Drone uses periodic laser recharges to stay aloft for continuous surveillance.
[Image Source: LaserMotive]

Some companies are examining the possibility of deploying armed drones (war drones) over U.S. soil to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies a weapon in the sky to use against "criminals".

III. Warrantless Monitoring?

A key question is whether such spying would be legal without warrant, an allowance that could be tantamout to leaving the door open to abuse.

Based on current U.S. court precedent, the report hypothesizes that courts would deem nano-drone visual or heat-image surveillance of U.S. citizens inside their homes to be illegal.  However, it is less clear whether drones would be disallowed to stalk Americans in their backyards, swimming pools, deck, or porch.  And intelligence agencies would likely be able to freely spy on people in public locations.

Obama Big Brother
President Barack Obama has supported a variety of warrantless spying measures on U.S. citizens, including wireless phonetaps. Republican presidential Mitt Romney has also supported warrantless spying efforts.  [Image Source: Fits News]

But the researchers also note that the drones' ability to stay in the air indefinitely or for extended periods of time (or even days), could sway courts to deem warrantless drone monitoring of Americans to be a Fourth Amendment violation.  Comments the report:
This capability may sway a court’s determination of whether certain types of warrant-less drone surveillance are compatible with the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The important phrasing there is "unreasonable searches", which many would argue would include continuous drone surveillance.

III. Bills on the Table, Question of Citizens Shooting Down Drones Looms

The good news is that there are several proposals floating around Congress to block using drones to spy on Americans without warrant.  The bad news is that past efforts to limit warrantless drone use have been largely struck down, and that the current efforts do not necessarily ban all kinds of warrantless use.

According to the summary by The Hill, three measures are currently on the table, all penned by Republicans in Congress.

One of the measures is very specific, seeking to narrow the scope of a specific agency's use of drone monitoring.  

Entitled the Farmers Privacy Act (H.R. 5961), this measure is written by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Virg.).  The bill looks to prevent the U.S. Environmental Agency for using drones to hunt for regulatory violations -- particularly with farms.  Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) had proposed a similar, but less strict prohibition which would have banned EPA drone use if it was more expensive than traditional inspections.  The amendment to the "farm bill" (The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240)) was struck down.

The other two bills would be more ubiquitous.  The Preserving American Privacy Act would strictly limit surveillance of U.S. citizens by drones to only be allowed with warrant in the investigation of felonies.  That bill is written by Rep. Ted Poe's (R-Texas).  A second bill by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Georgia) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), dubbed the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, would require police departments to obtain a warrant, in most cases, before using drones.  The Sen. Paul version is stricter, in that it contains an extra provision to prevent warrantless evidence from being used against Americans in a court of law.

U.S. police trooper
Several bills are looking to restrict police use of drones. [Image Source: Reuters]

It is unclear if any of these measures will pass.

One aspect of the measure not discussed by the report is what the legal rammifications would be of a legally armed U.S. citizens shooting down or hacking a drone that was spying on them or a nearby neighbor.  As unlikely as that scenario sounds, it could happen if use soars.

It can be safely presumed that the responsible agency would try to charge the citizen for destroying federal property, obstruction of justice, or other similar charges.  The real question is what the courts would make of such a case.

Sources: FAS, CBO

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Difficult at best
By madtruths on 9/14/2012 4:04:06 PM , Rating: 4
Lol at the shotgun, unless the drone is less than 300 ft up, that ain't happenin. Whether you could do it with a rifle or not might come down to little more than luck. I don't know about you but I don't see anyone pointing a Barrett .50 or Chey-Tac .408 up at a mile high moving target and reliably connecting with the it. Anyone else have some insight?

RE: Difficult at best
By BioHazardous on 9/14/2012 4:08:51 PM , Rating: 5
Spray and pray.

RE: Difficult at best
By Captain Orgazmo on 9/14/2012 4:51:25 PM , Rating: 3
RE: Difficult at best
By Ringold on 9/14/2012 9:40:11 PM , Rating: 2
There's been quite a few planes shot down over South America and even the caribbean over the years, even at decent altitude (piston planes, without a turbo, scarcely go above 12,500 ft MSL or so, typically cruise much lower), but drug gangs that happened to see them passing over, got paranoid, and started spraying bullets in their general direction.

I've been told stray bullets over countries like Colombia are enough of a problem pilots don't like to fly without 2 engines over them, for fear of one getting taken out.

Then, here in Florida, chicken ranchers mostly used to take shots at low flying aircraft. They were stressing the chickens out, slashing their egg output, and by extension, their income. I don't know that it ever took a plane down, but it put enough holes in Cessna's and cropdusters something was done about it (though cant recall what).

RE: Difficult at best
By Natch on 9/17/2012 8:22:41 AM , Rating: 2
Most of the reason for the lower altitude flying, however, is due to the unsealed/unpressurized planes, and the thinner air at higher altitudes. Unless they're carrying (and breathing) oxygen, they're stuck at the lower altitudes.

However, there are cases of low flying bombers, during the Viet Nam "conflict", that were allegedly shot down by farmers carrying old black powder rifles, in the .50 caliber range. The old "golden BB" concept.

RE: Difficult at best
By JasonMick on 9/14/2012 4:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
Sniper rifles aren't that hard to buy from a kit. I think you would be surprised at how many gun enthusiasts own one....

Likely not legal in many regions, but has that stopped people with automatics?

I agree, though, for a higher fliers you'd definitely need something with a high effective range and narrow MOA.

RE: Difficult at best
By RufusM on 9/14/2012 4:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
If this thing is operating at 30,000 feet a gun has basically no chance at taking it out; even with a long-range anti-material .50 cal sniper rifle.

I'm sure there will be industrious people that can find a way though. It's certainly possible to concoct a DIY heat-seeking or laser-guided missile.

RE: Difficult at best
By gwem557 on 9/14/2012 4:59:27 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, that's just what we friggin' need, is people concocting home-made heat-seeking missiles and shooting them into skies full of airliners.

But hey, I'm sure their self-imposed quality control techniques will ENSURE that they only hit what they're aiming at?

RE: Difficult at best
By Reclaimer77 on 9/14/2012 5:22:54 PM , Rating: 4
And military grade drones that could be armed is SO much better...

RE: Difficult at best
By Manch on 9/16/2012 7:24:51 AM , Rating: 2
Lowtech crap sometimes does alot of damage. I can't imagine what, but never underestimate the ingenuity of fools!

RE: Difficult at best
By Manch on 9/16/2012 7:23:16 AM , Rating: 2
Buy stock in Testers. People are about to make a run on model rocket parts!

RE: Difficult at best
By djcameron on 9/20/2012 12:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
It wouldn't be that difficult to devise a low-tech flak-system using model rockets and M-100s wrapped in nails. Could even detonate via a smartphone rather than attempting to guess the altitude.

RE: Difficult at best
By FaaR on 9/14/2012 6:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
It's certainly POSSIBLE to concoct home-made heat-seeking or - LOL! - laser guided missiles, but considering the materials, techniques and so on required I don't think that more than a mere handful of well-organized GROUPS could accomplish something like that.

It's not like banging a couple pots and pans together and boom, it's done you know...

RE: Difficult at best
By JKflipflop98 on 9/15/2012 4:56:42 AM , Rating: 2
Now that the science is well established, a guided rocket isn't really that difficult to make. You can build a IR-seeking guidance device with off the shelf parts for under 500 bucks.

And to be clear here, we're not talking very big rockets. . . you don't need a hellfire to take out a spy drone.

RE: Difficult at best
By FITCamaro on 9/15/2012 8:44:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah except most people don't have the capacity to write proper guidance software that locks onto a single target and stays locked on to it only. Then deactivates or self destructs properly if it fails to hit its target.

RE: Difficult at best
By gladiatorua on 9/15/2012 10:49:52 AM , Rating: 2
Except most people don't have to.
With current availability of open hardware platforms like Arduino, one person is enough.

RE: Difficult at best
By Ringold on 9/15/2012 1:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
Open-source weapons of war.. Hmm..

Well, I guess it was bound to happen.

News from the year 2022: Iran publishes open-source nuclear warhead plans?

RE: Difficult at best
By jRaskell on 9/17/2012 8:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
You can build a IR-seeking guidance device with off the shelf parts for under 500 bucks.

For 500 bucks, your IR-seeking guidance device is going to have a range of about... 50 feet, and I'm probably overestimating that. But, even assuming I'm grossly underestimating, even 10 times that range will be largely useless.

The hobby industry has a whole variety of sensors, hardware, and software to provide a large range of capabilities, but one thing it does NOT have is affordable long range capabilities.

RE: Difficult at best
By JKflipflop98 on 9/20/2012 7:48:20 AM , Rating: 2
The guidance device has a range of about 0 feet, actually. You kind of have to attach it to a rocket first, Mr VonBraun.

RE: Difficult at best
By lagomorpha on 9/14/2012 7:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
These things aren't using heat engines, they're electric. I doubt there's much of a heat signature (especially for those stealth ones they're building). And as far as keeping a laser pointed on one so your missile can hit it, LOL good luck.

If you had a powerful enough HERF gun you might be able to fry the electronics or at least jam its signal though.

RE: Difficult at best
By headbox on 9/20/2012 3:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
you don't need much of a heat signature for a weapon to detect/hit a target against a sky backdrop.

Also, drones don't fly as high as you think, especially if they're trying to gather intel. If looking for a tank formation, they can be up high. If looking at what individual people are doing at night, it will be down low.

RE: Difficult at best
By madtruths on 9/14/2012 5:01:52 PM , Rating: 2
Well I understand "sniper" rifles are around, I myself own an R700 which is the base action for the M24/M40 sniper rifles used by the Army and Marines. The thing is, its already extremely difficult to hit a land based stationary target a mile away, MOA plays into but other things play into it like wind drift, humidity, temp, even the Coriolis Effect and except for the latter, all are ever changing. However the people below talking about hobby rocketry have a better chance.

The legal side of things though is no problem, as far as I know the only state to infringe on our rights so deeply as to ban certain "sniper" rifles is California, which banned the .50. And automatics are still legal by the way. look up NFA, I believe the cut off date was 1986, though I could be wrong, all thats required is a mountain of paperwork, a pile of cash and you can own a automatic rifle. Provided your not in select few states.

RE: Difficult at best
By mcnabney on 9/15/2012 12:05:17 AM , Rating: 2
My thoughts exactly. I have gotten used to making adjustments on the X&Y planes - I wouldn't even have a clue how to factor wind currents and accurate distances shooting into the Z plane. Hell, you would need to use tracers just to adjust your aim and even then the depth of field would play all kinds of tricks on you.

There is a reason that only 1 in a 1000 AAA shells in WW2 ever hit anything. And those could be set to burst at a specific altitude.

RE: Difficult at best
By FITCamaro on 9/15/2012 8:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well too be fair, most AA fire was at night when they couldn't really see the planes they were shooting at. So in many instances they were just blind firing into the air hoping to hit one of the planes they could hear but not always see. They also had nothing to accurately gauge the altitude of the plane.

RE: Difficult at best
By sandineyes on 9/14/2012 8:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
If you are at the point that you need a sniper rifle to hit the thing, which you probably won't, have you considered the inherent dangers of shooting a gun into the air? Those slugs will eventually land somewhere, and not as softly as a snowflake.

RE: Difficult at best
By mmatis on 9/15/2012 12:49:27 PM , Rating: 1
War, sir, is hell. And when the enemy has no concern about such matters, as is the case with the damnable swill using these drones...

RE: Difficult at best
By Schrag4 on 9/15/2012 9:15:46 AM , Rating: 3
There's nothing special about a "sniper rifle." Accuracy at range isn't going to help you hit a moving, flying object. The idea that "sniper rifles" are illegal in many regions is quite laughable - along with shotguns, they're pretty much the only types of weapons that gun-control advocates would go after last (handguns and the mythical "assault weapon" are first on their list). Just out of curiosity, where do you live? I'm guessing California or New Jersey, as those states have pretty much neutered gun ownership.

And automatics? Aside from the North Hollywood shootout, what other high-profile shootings involved automatics? Be honest, don't go googling for specific examples. My guess is you're generally thinking that gang-bangers use them in drive-by's or something. They're so hard to obtain and the penalties are so high for illegally owning them that they're much, MUCH rarer than I think you realize.

I agree, though, for a higher fliers you'd definitely need something with a high effective range and narrow MOA.

Again, MOA would be the very least of your concerns. Assuming your rifle could shoot zero MOA (impossible) you'd still need to know how fast the drone was moving, what direction it's moving, and how far away. You'd then need to line that flight path up with an arc that you know your bullet would take. It would be quite an impressive shot to call out, even with the most accurate of rifles. You'd have MUCH better luck with a relatively inaccurate high-capacity rifle and tracer rounds so you could see whether your rounds are leading too much, not leading enough, falling short, or whatever. It would not be a one-shot proposition.

At any rate, this whole notion that US citizens would be shooting down drones just seems so ridiculous to me. Have gun owners or the organizations they contribute to said they would shoot down domestic drones? Your article actually says it's NOT being talked about. It seems to be fantasy that you conjured.

By the way, I believe that most of the article is good food for thought. I just really question the title of the article. Are you actually hoping people will fight back by shooting drones down, or what? You seem to be asking a question that nobody else is asking.

One aspect of the measure not discussed by the report is what the legal rammifications would be of a legally armed U.S. citizens shooting down or hacking a drone that was spying on them or a nearby neighbor. As unlikely as that scenario sounds, it could happen if use soars.

RE: Difficult at best
By Reclaimer77 on 9/14/2012 4:27:05 PM , Rating: 2
The feasibility isn't what's important. What's important here is that because of our abundant gun ownership, they have to consider the possibility.

RE: Difficult at best
By RufusM on 9/14/2012 4:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, your are right in that the government acts at its own peril.

The problem is that you won't get a large group of people to give a damn about warrant-less domestic spying unless they are directly impacted in some life-changing way. I'm not for violent protests unless it's truly the last resort and there's lives on the line. There are peaceful ways to protest and induce change. Start at the voting polls.

RE: Difficult at best
By Reclaimer77 on 9/14/2012 4:47:24 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately you're right.

Some event needs to happen to wake people up and trigger more unpopularity to this concept. Something like one of these drones losing control and crashing into a nice suburban home in a nice neighborhood and causing a fire where a whole nice family is burned alive in their sleep.

Not that I want that to happen mind you, but that would probably cause enough outrage. Because honestly, this is a horrifying thing our Government is doing. It's entirely unacceptable.

RE: Difficult at best
By superstition on 9/14/2012 6:18:35 PM , Rating: 5
Start at the voting polls.

I agree. We can vote for someone who is in favor of domestic spying or we can vote in favor of someone who likes domestic spying.

RE: Difficult at best
By mmatis on 9/16/2012 12:27:19 PM , Rating: 2
Well said, sir! Very well said. Mittens is nothing more than the Chimp in Chief without the tan, and with a different set of cronies to slop at the government trough.

RE: Difficult at best
By lowsidex2 on 9/14/2012 9:23:49 PM , Rating: 1
What goes up must come down. I'm referring to the rifle round.

RE: Difficult at best
By stimudent on 9/15/2012 6:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
I can see shooting down drones becoming a sport in some areas of the country.

RE: Difficult at best
By jschram on 9/18/2012 6:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
This image was stolen by Daily Tech from my website. They have no permission to use this image.

Importance of Gun Ownership
By Reclaimer77 on 9/14/2012 4:16:09 PM , Rating: 3
"People shouldn't fear their Government, Governments should fear the people"

This is just one issue that highlights the importance of an armed populace and why we have a Second Amendment guaranteeing firearms ownership. It's forcing the Government to think twice and consider the rights of it's population, instead of making unilateral policy quickly.

I say have it people. There's a new turkey on the menu, Drone Turkey! MmmmmMMmmm Good!

By superstition on 9/14/2012 6:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing the government with "think twice" about is how much to escalate.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By Beenthere on 9/14/12, Rating: 0
RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By Lord 666 on 9/14/2012 7:37:59 PM , Rating: 1
What if the US is preparing for a defensive or for a period of time there will be higher priorities than small town crime? Will even go out on a limb here and say the US Government WANTS gun ownership to increase for the previous scenarios.

Google the Colt LE901 - This is a modular carbine that can shoot 7.62 in an AR-15 platform and by swapping out the upper and adding an adapter plate, it can do 5.56. Those metric numbers are important because they would be NATO rounds. Even more perplexing about this new carbine is that Colt is shipping all versions (DoD and civi) with a thermal coating to reduce heat signature.

With all of the political unrest, even more so over the past 2-3 days, anything is possible re: martional law, etc. Its just tough for me to swallow a young nation of such background would become so dark and evil.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By Ringold on 9/14/2012 9:27:07 PM , Rating: 1
Gun's are a "worthless device for changing government?"

Consider first that full-auto is mostly a waste of ammo, and watching any foreigner use their AK in full auto usually proves how useless it is asides from making noise.

Then consider all the people in Libya that know better (though they also had air support). Syria's resistance has no such air support, though, and they're making do. I'd argue a bolt-action in the hands of a well practiced lifelong hunter or enthusiast is worth at least 3 untrained teenagers from the sticks of Syria. America has a deeply ingrained shooting and marksmanship culture; partly why the South could hand the North its ass as well as it did, despite weak logistical support and inferior numbers.

Also, gun owners are a radical few? I'm too lazy to google, but I'm pretty sure its a slight majority of households that own a firearm, and maybe homes that have a firearm have multiple ones. I've got 3 -- at the moment. A .22 for fun, a 7.62R Mosin for its historical value (and zombies or bolsheviks), and a .45 for anybody that think I'd be an easy mark.

Anyway, I agree with Reclaimer. Shooting down drones over ones property, should be hailed as an act of ultimate patriotism. If the government wants to flood the skies with drones that amount to a huge fishing expedition and surveillance of innocent Americans, I think they're fair game.

New legislation could change my mind on it, but for now this is something I'd expect from the USSR, not here.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By mcnabney on 9/15/2012 12:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
Eghm, the South did benefit from more marksmen, but they also benefited from fighting on their home turf (they didn't in Gettysburg, PA and look what happened) and also generally being able to plan when/where to fight - gaining massive tactical advantage (see: Burnside and Fredricksburg). They had outstanding leaders, but the Union had good ones too. The American militiamen in the Revolutionary War routinely got their asses kicked by the well disciplined British soldiers and mercs. Shooting experience is good, but top training and discipline is better.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By madtruths on 9/15/2012 12:46:29 AM , Rating: 2
Guerrilla Warfare anyone? It seems to have a long history of working...

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By Ringold on 9/15/2012 1:19:28 PM , Rating: 3
One of the least talked about things about General Robert E Lee I think is that he spared America the incredibly awful experience so many other countries have had with guerrilla warfare. Prior to surrendering, people around him were urging him to let the men go to bush, fight a guerrilla war, wear down the Union's will. Lee, thankfully for everybody, decided to take defeat honorably. If he hadn't, I think US history would've been much nastier; Italy still has an active mafia, Spain until recently had its Basque separatists. If not for Lee's surrender, we might still have active insurgents.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By Reclaimer77 on 9/14/2012 10:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
Nice flipout Beenthere, very impressive. Sound and fury, yet signifying squat.

If you decide to start shooting at drones, which is illegal

I see you've clearly, completely, and entirely missed the point of my post. Utter fail! Where do you see me advocating shooting government officials by the way?

What should be illegal is using these drones against citizens on private property in the first place.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By FITCamaro on 9/15/2012 8:50:27 AM , Rating: 1
A gun is a worthless device for changing government and in no way effects the "rights" of the population or "policy".

Our founders heavily disagreed with that statement. Yes times have changed but it still does hold true.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By espaghetti on 9/16/2012 2:57:15 PM , Rating: 1
A gun is a worthless device for changing government and in no way effects the "rights" of the population or "policy".

Go tell that to the people of Egypt.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By YashBudini on 9/18/2012 8:49:36 AM , Rating: 2
Elected officials don't fear guns or the few radicals who own them.

Oh yes they do, and they play politics with your safety.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By TSS on 9/15/2012 8:38:20 AM , Rating: 1
And how's that 2nd amendment been working out for you so far?

I mean you cannot deny that with the 2nd amendment in place you've gotten into the situation you are in now. $16 trillion in debt, ~12% un employment, botched statistics that make it look more like 8%, bribed politicians etc etc.

Sorry but by now it's been pretty much proven that it's not the guns that protect you against the government. It's the will of the people. If the people don't want to use the guns, the guns ain't killin anybody. And as Katrina showed, when there's 5-6 army guys pointing their rifles at you, you will surrender your gun.

That's not to say it should be abolished. It's clearly there for a reason. But there is a definite difference between handguns and say, assault rifles. Or barret 50 cals.

If a situation arises where a handgun wouldn't be enough, you can be reasonably sure a civilian will always lose out. Be it a lack of training or manpower, but the extra firepower means very little.

And in case of revolution, an assault rifle for everybody won't work either. Might work on the front line, but it'll just make anybody else resisting a target. Guerillia warfare is the name of the game in enemy territory, which hardly ever uses heavy weapons (other then DIY explosives).

Besides do you really think you have a better chance of standing up to the US army then the taliban, or al-qaida, who have basically been at war for 30-40 years now, so know a thing or 2? What do you know? And even if you're a trained ex-navy seal or whatnot, what does your neighbour know? Because if they come for you, and your neighbour doesn't help out, not even a tank will save you. Isn't that the reason why the 2nd amendment exists? Because 1 man with a musket doesn't do alot but 10 might? You'll need 10 muskets for that, but also 10 people who will watch your back.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By Reclaimer77 on 9/15/2012 8:58:24 AM , Rating: 1
Why does someone always bring up open warfare against the Government when the second Amendment comes up? Come on!

I mean you cannot deny that with the 2nd amendment in place you've gotten into the situation you are in now. $16 trillion in debt, ~12% un employment, botched statistics that make it look more like 8%, bribed politicians etc etc.

Gun rights = good economies and low unemployment? Huh? Okay skipping right by that tidbit of genius...

You realize there are places in the world where the people have NO rights? America doesn't get everything right, I agree. But I'll take it over the alternatives. Hey at least here it took over 200 years to get to this point. There have been places that start out from day 1 with the population pretty much screwed over by design.

The rest of your post is something from a comic book, we're not even going to get into that.

And how's that 2nd amendment been working out for you so far?

Pretty damn good I'll say. You might want to educate yourself and research statistics on how many crimes have been prevented, homes protected, and lives saved due to gun ownership. I guarantee you they far outweigh the attention-grabbing shootings you hear on the news.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By Ringold on 9/15/2012 1:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Hurricane Katrina actually proved quite the opposite. The criminals tended to be going around in roaming gangs looting, in many reported cases slaughtering whole families holed up in their home. Unarmed families.

Hurricane Katrina is the perfect case where gun ownership is a good idea; New Orleans law enforcement fell apart so badly, a lot of them turned coward and went AWOL. The unarmed were cows waiting to be milked by the first thug that found them. The armed had less to fear, security was in their own hands.

RE: Importance of Gun Ownership
By JediJeb on 9/15/2012 10:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
That's not to say it should be abolished. It's clearly there for a reason. But there is a definite difference between handguns and say, assault rifles. Or barret 50 cals.

The difference most people don't know is that handguns are probably more practical, accurate and destructive in the hands of regular people than "assault rifles" and a Barret 50 would be. I could more easily place 15 rounds in a bullseye with my handgun than when trying to do it with an assault rifle. Assault rifles are nothing more than a bogie man that gets hauled out by anti gun groups to try to make guns sound unacceptable for the public. A true assault rifle like those made for NATO by HK sell for thousands of dollars even when only semi automatic. Not many normal people will be able to afford those. The guns used in most crimes are cheap handguns bought in pawn shops or stolen.

Besides do you really think you have a better chance of standing up to the US army then the taliban, or al-qaida, who have basically been at war for 30-40 years now, so know a thing or 2? What do you know? And even if you're a trained ex-navy seal or whatnot, what does your neighbour know? Because if they come for you, and your neighbour doesn't help out, not even a tank will save you. Isn't that the reason why the 2nd amendment exists? Because 1 man with a musket doesn't do alot but 10 might? You'll need 10 muskets for that, but also 10 people who will watch your back.

I would imagine if the time comes that average people are ready to rise up against the government, then times will be bad enough that there is going to be much dissension within the military too and it will not be only citizens on the rebel side of things, the Civil War is proof of that, and other civil wars across the world.

Question Looms in whose mind?
By rickon66 on 9/14/2012 7:14:50 PM , Rating: 3
I am normally a fan of Jason's, but thas article, particularly the title stumps me. The question of destroying federal property looms in whose mind? Shooting down a drone would be no diferent than if I decided to shoot a mail truck off the highway or blow uo a federal building. An article about the drones makes sense, but the title is absurd.

RE: Question Looms in whose mind?
By wookie1 on 9/14/2012 7:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
What if the mail truck was unmanned, on your property, and filming your every move?

RE: Question Looms in whose mind?
By Camikazi on 9/15/2012 10:32:03 AM , Rating: 2
Well a mail truck on the highway is on public, federally owned land just like the federal building. A drone flying over MY land without permission is not the same thing at all and I think I should be able to take it out just like I can any intruder who does not obey my command to leave my land.

RE: Question Looms in whose mind?
By nedsand on 9/17/2012 3:23:42 PM , Rating: 3
You think you own the airspace over your land? What did the FFA say when you requested a no fly zone?

RE: Question Looms in whose mind?
By djcameron on 9/20/2012 12:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting questions.
Do you own any of the airspace above your property?
Do you own any of the water of the shore of your beachfront property?

RE: Question Looms in whose mind?
By 91TTZ on 9/17/2012 4:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
Your examples make no logical sense. There are people in the objects in your examples, while there are no people in a drone.

Destroying a drone would be more like destroying a security camera that the police installed on a telephone pole.

Should I buy stock in model rockets?
By mmp121 on 9/14/2012 4:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
Cheap way to try to take out the drones...

RE: Should I buy stock in model rockets?
By Ammohunt on 9/14/2012 5:02:00 PM , Rating: 1
$12 model rocket $1000 guidance system 20 year prison sentence for shooting explosives into the air where do you live? you frighten me.

RE: Should I buy stock in model rockets?
By Solandri on 9/14/2012 8:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
You don't need explosives. You're not trying to bring down a B-52. The drone already has a substantial amount of potential energy so you don't need to add any more to destroy it. Just put an extra-large chute on the rocket for its descent and trigger it in the drone's flight path. Gravity will do the rest.

RE: Should I buy stock in model rockets?
By Ammohunt on 9/14/2012 10:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
I think you underestimate the robustness of these airframes. Stinger missles work by detonating thier warheads within a certain proxmity of the aircraft effectivly tearing it apart not by direct contact. Not to mention these drones are not small aircraft.

RE: Should I buy stock in model rockets?
By BigEdMan on 9/14/2012 11:25:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think you missed the point. Building heatseeking, laserguided solutions is overkill. In the previous scenario the parachute is doing the real work the rocket is only delivering it. The only thing you need to do to down one is cause the propeller to become jammed. You could make small dirigibles and have a cable strung between them with barbed wire hanging from it. Make it small enough to attach to a four wheeler for mobility. Or try larger model rockets pulling 20" of Barb wire. A few kites might also work.

Note: Please don't try this at home kids or anyone else!!!

By drlumen on 9/15/2012 11:08:35 AM , Rating: 2
Fight fire with fire.

I think a long range sacrificial RC plane would be better than any type of heat seeking or laser guided rocket. Just crash it into the propeller or dive on the drone to break a wing. Cheaper, easier and more feasible than some type of rocket with a guidance system and explosives.

It would be line of sight but if you can't see the drone how will you know it's up there?

Property laws???
By croc on 9/14/2012 6:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
Why, again, does one need a new law to cover shooting down drones? What happens currently if you shoot out the tires on a police car? Or the lens of a speed camera?

And why, again, does anyone need a .50 calibre sniper rifle for self-protection?

Just askin', we Aussies got curious minds...

RE: Property laws???
By Beenthere on 9/14/2012 6:48:02 PM , Rating: 1
Yup, some folks don't get it. They think because they don't like something they can just destroy it or "take matters into their own hands". This explains a lot of the problems in society today.

After a few clowns who shoot down drones get heavily fined and go to prison for a few years, then maybe they'll have a better understanding of why we have laws in society.

As we see with some comments here, some folks are using bad drugs these days... when they can make a quantum leap from drones to guns being necessary to protect the citizens from their government.

RE: Property laws???
By Ringold on 9/14/2012 9:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
I can't imagine it being legal or even remotely wise in most situations; taking pot-shots from the back yard of your average suburban home would count in most places as reckless discharge.

But say you live further out, got several acres. Drone buzzing around overhead. Didn't ask your permission you fly over your property. Didn't announce itself. Isn't stating any reason. Just an unblinking, unwarranted stare, invading the expectation of privacy the constitution says we have in this country.

In that situation, it's a decent legal question as to why it'd be illegal -- though I suspect it is, I think I recall the FAA doing something about farmers taking pot shots at crop dusters and the like in the past that was disrupting their animals. Might not be, though.

There may be liability issues to keep in mind, too; what if a drone is hit, tries to limp home, and crashes in to someone/something on the way? Your bullet caused it, so I suspect that'd make the shooter liable.

But it's also a form of civil disobedience. You'd rather bend over, smile, and thank the government for pounding your privacy, and ask meekly for a welfare reach-around.

RE: Property laws???
By Uncle on 9/14/2012 9:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, More important. How do the Americans like their taxes being spent in this way. I'd be pissed off, every year I pay my taxes, knowing the government is spying on me like I'm a criminal ready to go into action. Theirs better targets to shoot your guns at then drones if thats your plan of action.

RE: Property laws???
By madtruths on 9/15/2012 12:57:00 AM , Rating: 2
We want .50s for a couple of reasons. Mainly because they are awesome, fun to shoot, long range target practice, and most importantly, because we can, and it is our right to own one. People should understand that owning firearms is not always about need. Beyond protection, it is a hobby.

Oh and just for the hell of it look up crime statistics, I think you will find .22s are used in more murders than most other calibers, at least that was the case in L.A. last I checked.

RE: Property laws???
By Reclaimer77 on 9/15/2012 9:13:03 AM , Rating: 1
Why does someone "need" a Porsche? Why do we "need" a swimming pool in our backyard?

And yeah, you Aussies have some fascist gun laws. But I have a suspicion that there are places in Australia where guns ownership is pretty damn common.

What happens currently if you shoot out the tires on a police car?

You to go jail because you are endangering the life of the officer in the car. Also that's the property of someone else.

Unnamed Drones hovering over private land is a different issue. The Government seems to think the Constitution doesn't cover things in the sky under the expectation of privacy clause. In fact they think they OWN the sky.

I'm not saying I would shoot at one. I'm not even saying you should try. But if thousands of Americans rose up and did so, I would love it. At some point this path to tyranny needs to be stopped. A symbolic and harmless display of anger and the desire to be free on your own land? Not a problem with me.

Honestly, how can anyone support military grade drones being used on American soil against it's own citizens? Something is just SO clearly not right about that.

Radio Controled Plane?
By Angstromm on 9/14/2012 8:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
So, I know there's a huge RC plane community out there that could come up with a solution for taking out drones. Heck, they could have sponsored competitions. Drone Kill USA!

So, what are some possible weapons systems? Here's one idea:

An RC plane could drag a long length of wire behind it, fly in front of drone so wire would snag and down the drone.

Anybody got some notions?

RE: Radio Controled Plane?
By schmandel on 9/14/2012 11:44:52 PM , Rating: 2
I like it. If smaller sorts of drones were used, think the flying cat with sensors, countermeasures could be similarly sized. Here's the sort of thing that could probably be done up in the matter you describe.

How about a relatively cheap materials rc plane with a cardboard/paper tube fuselage ( carpet tube? ) open at both ends? The hollow fuselage is used to deliver a forward firing load like a crapload of relatively light weight entanglements. I'm imaging a sort of sailplane flying bazooka affair.

More incendiary possibilities exist, but a relatively quiet delivery of disabling debris pushed by a hobby rocket engine could be pretty fun just to test and tune, and you might even get your plane back if you get the post-firing loss of weight and balance change right ;-D

RE: Radio Controled Plane?
By mmatis on 9/15/2012 12:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
An ID set off as the chief's car drives by is far more effective.

fair and balanced, we are
By superstition on 9/14/2012 6:14:13 PM , Rating: 2
President Barack Obama has supported a variety of warrantless spying measures on U.S. citizens, including wireless phonetaps. Republican presidential Mitt Romney has also supported warrantless spying efforts.

Which is why, of course, there is only a 1984 picture with Obama's face.

RE: fair and balanced, we are
By MamiyaOtaru on 9/16/2012 9:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
he's the president. the other guy isn't. This isn't an article about the elections. it doesn't need to devote equal time to both candidates. it has a pic of the sitting, elected president, who's been in favor of some shady stuff. deal with it

By Hector2 on 9/14/2012 8:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
First thing you have to ask yourself is -- "is it legal to shoot down a manned helicopter" ? If you thing that's legal, then you'll think you can get away with shooting down drones too.

RE: Logic
By mmatis on 9/15/2012 12:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
Screw the legal. Every one of these bastards swore an oath to the Constitution before they pinned on their GD badge. When they violate that oath, as they do here, they cease to be "Law Enforcement" and instead merely become Thugs with Guns. They have made a mockery of Rule of Law. Let them deal with the consequences of their treason.

Eagle Eye...Person of Interest.
By nZone on 9/14/2012 4:04:37 PM , Rating: 2
"I'll be back!"

Thats eerie
By Ammohunt on 9/14/2012 4:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
I have already spent some time thinking about that very thing drone counter measures; that i won't discus here. Either way i don't recommend using conventional firearms to try and shoot down anything from within populated areas...what goes up must come down.

What foolishness...
By Beenthere on 9/14/12, Rating: 0
RE: What foolishness...
By mmatis on 9/15/2012 12:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
You sure haven't been paying much attention to wha6 the pigs have been up to lately, have you? They have already destroyed Rule of Law many times over.

Friday Afternoon Club
By SkierInAvon on 9/14/2012 6:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
The Cops Watching?
In my neck of the woods...the cops are really aggressive with stopping folks driving home from their local watering hole.

I've never been stopped...however I have friends who have...

Q.) Watch what time you go into the Bar...note what time you walk out. Cop gets a call from his (dispatch?) and he follows you home...hoping you come a little too close to that yellow line...then stops you for probable cause...Maybe you're over the limit maybe not...

By superstition on 9/14/2012 6:23:12 PM , Rating: 2
It's illegal to protest anywhere the Secret Service are operating (and since they're secret, let me know how you plan to know where they are). It's the height of absurdity to believe that, given that Americans' right to protest is basically being taken away with recent legislation (legislation both parties want), that we'd be free to shoot down government property.

Get a grip.

"Anti-Occupy" law ends American's right to protest

By kilkennycat on 9/14/2012 7:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
... and own that super sniper rifle a la "The Bourne Legacy" ?? If so, CIA/FBI bring 'em on! I'll mark up the drone kills on the stock of my rifle :-) :-)

By warprat on 9/14/2012 7:23:50 PM , Rating: 2
You all seem to be forgetting that these drones need POWER. Sure, eventually some or all of them will end up using solar, but for the ones in this article that may require ground-based laser power to stay aloft, would it not be much easier to destroy the trucks/lasers on the ground instead of the actual drones??

Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY. ALWAYS.

Shoot it down yourself...?
By delphinus100 on 9/14/2012 10:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure the FAA and your local firearm discharge laws are going to have something to say about that.

And then there's the matter of where it crashes...

This article is retarded...
By bsim50 on 9/15/2012 6:32:26 AM , Rating: 2
...So much so, I'm questioning whether someone has spiked DailyTech's water-cooler or found some brightly colored mushrooms you really shouldn't be eating...

There are two aspects - physical and legal:-

1. Physical - Only redneck rambo-wannabes think they can hit an tiny 80mph moving target orbiting at 10-40k feet straight up (does your rifle really have a 3-13km range going 90 degree straight up all the way (equal to a 7-30km range horizontal shot at 0 degree angle?) Highly Impressive! Let me know what model that is!). "Spray and pray" comments that in built up areas will promptly result in a lot of dead / injured civilians walking or driving outside or kids playing outside are dumb beyond belief and just get you jailed for murder / manslaughter out of some deluded misplaced "patriot" paranoia (what goes up must come down). Why do you think firing ranges have "backstops" - for a laugh? This is the USA, not a Somalian wedding where "celebration fire" manages to kill the bride...

2. Legal - At the end of the day the equipment belongs to the police / govt, etc, and you are no more going to run around shooting down drones than you are going to get away with setting light to a parked helicopter which flew over your house or smashing up an unmanned bomb disposal robot just because a. you don't like the look of the camera on it and b. it's also remote controlled.

"IT'S WATCHING ME DUDE!", "I've had to wrap my monitor in aluminum foil so THE MAN can't see what I type", "I'm stockpiling corned beef and soup packets". Jesus Christ, get a grip people...

By PaFromFL on 9/15/2012 9:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
From a technological standpoint, it would be easier to blind the drones with lasers, or fry them with a C02 laser. Once you start down this alley, the logical end will be technology transfer to terrorists and then cockpits where hardened sensors replace windows, and finally hardened computers that replace pilots (not necessarily a bad thing).

A much easier way to shoot down drones is to pass a law to make sure the President, Congressmen, Senators, corporations, and other one percenters cannot exempt themselves from drone surveillance. They have a lot to more dirt to hide than the average citizen.

Far Better...
By mmatis on 9/15/2012 12:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
to just shoot the pigs using them instead. Or give them a free cocktail delivery through their bedroom window at 2 AM. After all, that IS their very own Rules of Engagement...

Let it entertain you!
By IranTech on 9/15/2012 3:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
America, you are fook'd. Already.

But worry none. They will make it entertaining. Being spied upon will be the most American thing you have ever done. Or done to. What is the difference! The important thing is that you will be a big part of it. You have a chance to exhibit your patriotism 24/7/365. And it will be well documented. So nobody dares to mistake you for a Bin Ladin type in a thousand years.

Why try to shoot it, Spoof it!
By funguseater on 9/15/2012 4:47:06 PM , Rating: 2
"Spoofing a GPS receiver on a UAV is just another way of hijacking a plane."

"The scary part of the demonstration given by the professor and his team is that anyone with the right tools can take over the GPS-guided drone. Spoofing is when technology is used against drone that is able to manipulate navigation computers with false information that the drone sees as real. Humphreys and his team used what they call the most advanced spoofer ever built, and it costs only $1,000 to construct."
quote from Daily tech.

Why on earth would you want to shoot/damage/destroy a drone when you could Spoof the GPS signal and bring it in for a nice landing like Iran did, then rebuild the control computer with your own circuit and fly it yourself or just hang it on your wall like a trophy, or better yet keep bringing them down and then return them to whatever government branch or police force they are from... gee another flyin machine fell on my property again...

That Sting song
By ShaolinSoccer on 9/15/2012 5:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
Would've been a good analogy except it's about a pedo teacher who falls in love with one of his students lol... Just saying...

By Randomblame on 9/15/2012 7:34:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'd love to shoot me some flying robots, then mount them on the wall :D I think we need to remind these politicians of the agreement under which they were elected and serve

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I think the entire idea of domestic spying is completely incompatible.

Air property rights.
By rickon66 on 9/15/2012 7:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
I looked up the air above your property rights and this sums it up, "Under US law, property owners are required to allow unrestricted airspace access to any vehicle under the jurisdiction of the FAA, the US military, or the US government.". So I think you would kind of"get in trouble" if you shot one down.

Jason strikes again
By BillyBatson on 9/15/2012 8:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
You really should write movies... Or at least movie trailers, you would be great at deceiving people into the theatre and then show them a completely different movie.

This article should have stayed about govt drone use and not mention us citizens shooting them down. Keep the extra for your movie.

You are shooting at a U.F.O.
By fteoath64 on 9/15/2012 11:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
It is too small to identify and it is flying within your space and you felt threatened. UFO!. The government said officially they DO NOT EXIST so how can they hold you accountable to shooting things that do not exist!!!!. Idiot!.

Claim it is a UFO and never change the story. They cannot hold you accountable if they never identified themselves.

Here's an idea
By Nik00117 on 9/18/2012 12:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
Shooting down a drone with a rifle? Unlikely...You either try to hit a flying bird with a rifle? And keep in mind those birds are only 100-200 feet up little alone 5,000+ feet.

A more likely although much more expensive way would be a very high end gas operated RC plane with a payload.

I'm sure you could build one that had a 3-4 mile range.

Build a small simple remote detonated bomb, I imagine 1-2 Lbs of explosive would be more then enough to cripple a drone. Fly it right up against the drone, press the button and boom.

Although I also imagine this would be quite expensive...

Stolen Image
By jschram on 9/18/2012 6:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
You have stolen this image from my website...Cease and Desist immeadiately.

This image is the sole property of Wing & Clay Shooting Sports.

By thurston2 on 9/18/2012 8:27:04 PM , Rating: 2
I imagine Rep. Capito's bill is more about stopping the EPA from using drones to find mining violations than to help farmers.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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