Proposed Oklahoma Bill Would Allow Property Owners to Destroy Drones

March 9, 2017

Proposed Oklahoma legislation heading to the Senate would exempt property owners from civil action if they destroy drones not regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The proposed bill, authored by Republican Sen. Ralph Shortey, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote Feb. 21, the Tulsa World reported.

Shortey, who said the issue has become a big problem, cited an incident in 2015 when a drone was shot down during a pigeon shoot being held to raise money for Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, an animal protection advocacy group, was filming video of the event on private property.

Shortey said the measure doesn’t mention how the drone should be taken down, whether it is with a gun, a net or another device. He also said the measure doesn’t exonerate a person participating in a criminal activity, such as discharging a wea on where it’s prohibited except for self-defense.

“It doesn’t matter how you damage that thing,” Shortey said. “As a private citizen, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy above your property where the public does not have access and that is under 400 feet.”

Stephen McKeever serves as chairman of the governor’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Council, which opposes the legislation. He said drones are classified as an aircraft and that it’s against federal law to shoot down an aircraft.

“So, the bill opens itself up to the state pre-emption of federal law,” McKeever said.

McKeever argued that the bill encourages the discharge of a weapon within a residential area, which against state law.

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