Connecticut Set To Become First State To Allow Deadly Police Drones
Connecticut could become the first US state to allow police to use drones equipped with deadly weapons if a bill opposed by civil libertarians becomes law. The bill, which was approved overwhelmingly by the state legislature's judiciary committee on Wednesday, would ban so-called weaponized drones in the state but exempts police and other agencies involved in law enforcement, the AP reported. The legislation was introduced as a complete ban on weaponized drones but just before the committee vote it was amended to exclude police from the restriction. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, was reviewing the proposal, "however in previous years he has not supported this concept," spokesman Chris Collibee wrote in an email.
"Obviously this is for very limited circumstances," said Republican state Sen. John Kissel, of Enfield, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee that approved the measure Wednesday and sent it to the House of Representatives. "We can certainly envision some incident on some campus or someplace where someone is a rogue shooter or someone was kidnapped and you try to blow out a tire."
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Details on how law enforcement could use drones with weapons would be spelled out in new rules to be developed by the state Police Officer Standards and Training Council. Officers also would have to receive training before being allowed to use drones with weapons.
North Dakota is the only state that allows police to use weaponized drones, but limits the use to "less lethal" weapons, including stun guns, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Currently five states - Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin - prohibit anyone from using a weaponized drone, while Maine and Virginia ban police from using armed drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several other states have restricted drone use in general. So far, 36 states have enacted laws restricting drones and an additional four states have adopted drone limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.