Shoot Down a Government Drone, Get a $100 Reward

Published on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 17:01 - Written by

MASHABLE- A small Colorado town of just over 550 people may allow its citizens to pay for licenses to shoot down drones, an initiative that could effectively implement a bounty program for flying robot hunters. Philip Steel, a resident of Deer Trail, Colo., drafted the ordinance, which the town board will consider on Aug. 6, as ABC's local affiliate 7NEWS reported. "We do not want drones in town," Steel told the TV station. "They fly in town, they get shot down." The ordinance states that a successful shooter will receive a $100 reward. First, one must claim the bounty in order to obtain a permit — call it a drone-hunting license — and then bring "identifiable parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle whose markings and configuration are consistent with those used on any similar craft known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government," as the ordinance reads. In other words, the targets are government drones, which might potentially spy on innocent and law-abiding Deer Trail citizens. Several government agencies and police departments have permissions from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones in American airspace. Most recently, the FBI admitted to owning and operating drones, which it uses for domestic surveillance. The Department of Homeland Security, through its Customs and Border Protection, uses MQ-9 Predator B drones to patrol borders and can lend them to local law enforcement in certain occasions. As Steel states, the program would mostly be symbolic. "Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way," he said. It's also a business opportunity; the licenses will cost $25 per year. "They'll sell like hot cakes, and it would be a real drone hunting license," Steel said. "It could be a huge moneymaker for the town." The ordinance, however, might prove troublesome for drone hunters. Destroying or damaging government property is a felony, according to federal law. The law establishes that if the damage exceeds $1,000, the accused can be punished with a fine and up to 10 years in prison. So residents of Deer Trail might want to think twice before shooting down a drone.