North Dakota becomes first US state to legalize weapons on police drones

By midian182
Aug 27, 2015
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  1. North Dakota has become the first state in the US to allow its police to fly drones armed with tasers, tear gas, rubber bullets and other ‘non-lethal weapons’ following the passing of Bill 1328, reported the Daily Beast.

    The original draft of the bill, which was proposed by Republican state representative Rick Becker, required police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. It also intended to ban police in the state from adding any weapons to their drones.

    However, a lobbyist for the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association, Bruce Burkett, was allowed by the state house committee to amend the bill so it would only ban lethal weapons from being added. This meant that ‘non-lethal’ weapons such as rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and tasers are now permitted on police drones.

    Speaking about the amended bill at a hearing, Becker said: “This is one I’m not in full agreement with. I wish it was any weapon. In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period.”

    The Daily Beast points out that even ‘less than lethal’ weapons have been known to kill. According to Mic, over 500 people were killed by US police using stun guns between 2001 and 2013. Rubber bullets and tear gas have also been responsible for maiming and killing people across the world.

    Becker said he worries about the depersonalization and dehumanizing effect that comes from firing a drone remotely, similar to what US air force drone operators can experience when discharging weapons from thousands of miles away. “When you’re not on the ground, and you’re making decisions, you’re sort of separate,” Becker said in March.

    North Dakota is the only area out of six US commercial drone test sites where the FAA allows the devices to be flown up to 1,200 feet above the entire state and permits flights at night.

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    Why is a state legislature allowing lobbyists to amend bills? Answer: because said lobbyist and said legislature are getting paid by the defense industry to pave the way for fully weaponized drones. The arms makers see this as a huge growth sector and are doing everything they can to put unmanned gunships in our skies. As usual, greed and stupidity combine to deliver the nightmare sci-fi scenarios we've been warned about for generations. They don't care about what happens when these drones inevitably get hacked, or when people start putting on masks and shooting them down. They don't care about the fact that law enforcement tech will be available to anyone who wants it within a few months of hitting the market..nor the fact that if a drone can fire a paintball gun it can fire a real one with almost no modifications. When we get the first inevitable American death caused by a "non-lethal" drone attack, who's at fault? The drone or weapon manufacturer? The pilot? What about when criminals and anarchists start keeping the police under airborne surveillance 24/7? But no, let's just ram this insanity through and make some money, right??
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Not exactly your best rant. It reads like a lamentation by a quasi-Alex Jones crossed with a sexually frustrated liberal arts undergrad from Seattle.

    Points for artistic expression if you downed a latte before clicking 'Post Comment'.
    Hexic likes this.
  4. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 140   +21

    I knew this day was gonna come and American gun lovers will embrace this bill, as if they were their own child. Now its just accident happening to wait, one day, some crazy guy will strap a machine gun to a drone and fly it around in rampage.
  5. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 616   +143

    Drones should be illegal. The problems are just starting.
    psycros likes this.
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    And if you knew for a certainly that I WAS the kind of person you describe you would have applauded it wholeheartedly. Because its not about things like facts or common sense, its all about who you think someone pulls the lever for at election time. I also find it pretty hilarious that you try to paint me as some left-of-center hipster when your own attempt to sound clever and ironic is so unbelievably forced.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    This is the perfect excuse for me to start shooting them out of the sky. A gun pointed at me is a threat, one of which I will do everything in my power to remove.

    I find it disrespectful for someone to point a gun at a non-armed person. The fact that it is attached to a drone in irrelevant. I'm fairly certain the drone will still have a person (not autonomous) in control. At least with autonomous control there would be a logical explanation (non-human error/motive) as to why it fired. What would happen if an Officer walked around pointing a gun at civilians all day? Someone would get killed, which is the direction this drone is heading.

    Besides what is so secure about these drones that they can not be hacked? Can you imagine legally populating the world with hack-able drones that can at anytime be lethally used against another. The day the president starts using drones for personal protection, will be the day I allow them for personal protection.

    Make it a taser and I will find it an acceptable nonlethal solution.
  8. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    The sick reality is that there are several different industries chomping at the bit to fill our skies with dangerous and dubious hardware. These intrusive chunks of plastic will cost a fair bit and have relatively limited lifespans, and that's exactly what the junk makers love. Drones are being viewed as just another category of gadget to make a tidy profit on, and just like with cell phones, there's no regard whatsoever for the potential negative consequences. Mobile phones and social media have made our kids stupid and socially handicapped. Every new violent nutcase with a cause makes sure to post his manifesto online..and now the copycats will be filming their heinous crimes as well. How long till we get our first killing spree captured by GoPro? How long till a drone is used to COMMIT such an act? The safe bet in both cases is, "not long at all". Meanwhile the sheeple will continue to ignore the looming threat until its too late to do anything but cower and hope that "someone does something". We've become a nation of lazy, self-entitled morons just asking to be dehumanized.

    Colorado has taken the lead in encouraging private property owners to shoot down any drone that flies over their property below legal air traffic altitudes. As long as its not in a densely populated area and safe shooting practices are strictly observed I can't disagree with this at all. If someone stuck a camera on an RC car and drove it through the doggy door in your house you'd have every right to stomp it into little pieces. (I wonder if they make 12 gauge rounds full of rubber pellets?) Law enforcement also needs to clearly identify their UAVs to avoid getting them blown away or captured and sold on EBAY. Meanwhile, there are already anti-drone drones in the design phase. I think that in the next few years we can expect to see dogfights between drones becoming a fairly regular occurrence. The feds will be scrambling to fix this mess when people start getting hurt by the rain of debris or killed by airborne IEDs...but sadly, the average 'Murican won't care until then.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  9. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 271   +127

    Lmao, I laughed wayy to long at this response.
  10. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 271   +127

    Too* My keyboard is slowly dying. -.-
  11. Manuel Diego

    Manuel Diego TS Rookie

    I'm hoping this is just a poor choice of words! Disrespectful? So it's only disrespectful to threaten a person's life... It's not obscene, it's not insanely dangerous, it's not inmoral, it's just disrespectful. Is a death threat with a smile more acceptable? I could never live in the US, with so many deadly weapons in the hands of potentially "disrespectful" people.
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I meant what I said. I'm sorry you think I should look at law enforcement differently. If law enforcement can't respect those who do not carry by keeping it lowered, how can they respectfully expect anyone not carry.
    So you don't have a true perspective to form your opinions of the US. Your credibility just went out the window.
  13. Manuel Diego

    Manuel Diego TS Rookie

    So, because I chose on moral grounds not to live in the US (a country I have visited several times; not that it's really necessary to live in or have been to a country to know something about it, but anyways... there's books and stuff to know more about the world, no need to go to the sun to know for a fact that it's hot there...), my credibility is gone? Ok, that sounds vey logical (?!).
    In any case, I just wanted to point out how baffling some opinions coming from the US are to people outside of it. You americans are so used to guns and weapons (and so apparently ignorant about all the wrong it does to you, and the little good it might ever do), that here in Europe many people, me among them, can't really understand your love and your tolerance to them.
    In 2013, more than 32.000 people died in the US because of firearms, including murders, suicides, and accidental deaths (table 9 in Bravo, guys, it was really worth it! But so much good was achieved thanks to the firearms at the same time, that the balance is clearly positive, I presume... Enjoy your choices!
  14. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Forced? That response was the first thing that popped into my head. Forced is attributing the advance of weaponized drones to greed. It's a power problem, not a money problem.
  15. feathers632

    feathers632 TS Member Posts: 59   +14

    You are quite correct. And new weapons are always labelled as non-lethal or saving lives. Tazers are sold as non-lethal yet they are used to kill by a percentage of psychotic police. When the first civilian is killed by a police drone there will be the same level of accountability we see when cops beat a black man to death near a movie theater as his wife watched. The same accountability we saw when Eric Garner was murdered by the cop who then smiled and waved to the camera.
  16. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 933   +240

    If you look at that region of the country and the fact that the military's drone command is located there, as well as the fact that it is impoverished, you would find that it is both a power grab and a grab for the bucks going into military drone development. Is the grab for the bucks motivated by greed who knows, but in most cases grabs for bucks are motivated by greed especially when this could infringe on the rights of US citizens. Before you p!ss on someone, I suggest you do your research.

    Many people really do not know what damage a taser is capable of doing. Use your favorite search engine and search for "taser kills" you will find plenty of cases where they have killed. Calling them nonlethal is marketing bull$hit. They can, have, and will kill just like any gun.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    OK, less-lethal alternative.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 905   +240

    Firearms can be used to protect freedom which is why they are so cherished in the US. It is unfortunate so many nut cases have them, but perhaps the US should come up with a program to detain said nutcases. Instead they all run free, and vote for people with your mentality stating how bad this inanimate object is and how it should be banned. Because that has worked well for so many other countries right? The problem is people, not the weapon. Drones are no different when controlled by a human. And no I don't trust a computer program to make a decision either.
  19. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Not keen to take your own advice, evidently. 'Non-lethal' isn't marketing BS. It's the design of the weapon system. That a non-lethal weapon can inflict lethal harm (especially when misused) is no more a trick of marketing than someone surviving a lethal weapon attack, like the interviewee who survived a hollow point (a round designed for maximum lethality) earlier this week.

    As for greed/power... It's not a "grab" (I.e. a one-time opportunity). They have a market, they are selling to that market. That's not greed - that's business. The market, however, is motivated by a lust for power. That's your problem, not a weapons manufacturer having the audacity to earn a profit selling weapon platforms.
  20. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 1,937   +157

    Remember when you smoked a cig in high school in the alley? That aint gonna happen if we have drones everywhere flying around. I know drones are cool and all but I don't really want drones watching me 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Its unnerving. I actually don't care if they are armed I just don't want to be constantly monitored.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
    davislane1 likes this.
  21. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 271   +127

    And you didn't believe you are being constantly monitored now...? /facepalm
  22. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 271   +127

    Don't* I swear I'm gonna put this keyboard through a wall here soon..
  23. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    I'm not sure why you don't simply edit your post to correct it and avoid all the drama.
  24. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I would rather be monitored 24/7 than have a lethal-weapon pointed at me 24/7. Personally I'd rather just say no to both concepts.
  25. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 6,551   +332

    I'm not taking sides, a drone is replaceable, a human being isn't.

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