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Nine State Legislatures Moving To Restrict Drone Use – More On The Way

February 22nd, 2013

In yesterdays post, when I predicted that there would be more states to follow New Hampshire, little did I realize there were already eight other states that had legislation in work to restrict UAV use in some way. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eighteen states are considering bills that would limit the use of unmanned aerial systems, and more are likely to follow suit.

The most restrictive bill in work is right here in Oregon. Oregon’s Senate Bill 71, if passed would make possession of UAV a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail! Whoa, I need to get downtown to my local State Senate and try and talk some sense into these people.

If you live in Oregon please have a look at and sign the petition to Oregon Governor Kitzhaber and key Oregon Senators to protect the rights of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle enthusiasts and commercial operators. Also, pay close attention to what’s happening in your state or country. This kind of thing is going on all over.

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13 Responses to “Nine State Legislatures Moving To Restrict Drone Use – More On The Way”

  • yet you can own an assault rifle.

  • @Pedro – Yea, it’s difficult to explain. My best explanation is that the founding fathers had guns but not UAVs.

  • The founding fathers understood the government needed to be restricted, that is why we have a constitution and a bill of rights.
    I would like to know how many real estate photographers and how many sales of residential real estate this would affect.

  • Be interesting when some local cop doesn’t realize that a hobbyist can possess and fly an R/C helicopter or aircraft completely legally when/if laws like this take effect.

    Although this doesn’t help real estate photographers I predict some serious publicity when the R/C enthusiast people start to come under fire.

    (And yes I know that the FAA allows hobby machines but once a law comes out, you know perfectly well that some local or state law enforcement person will assume it applies to everything that flies.)

  • @Michael – You are exactly right. In Oregon where the where Senate Bill 71 proposes shutting down ALL drones the hobbyists are livid. It was hobbyists that made the YT video on this post and if you google “Oregon Senate Bill 71” there are pages of rants on hobbyist sites about this. I expect to see a crowd down at the capital building if they have a public hearing.

    And if Oregon Senate Bill 71 passes it trumps the FAA thing about allowing hobbyists to fly. Any one holding a toy AR Parrot is a Class A misdemeanor which gets you 6 months and if you are caught flying it you could get 1 year. Proposed law says ALL UAVs are illegal to OWN in Oregon.

  • @Larry, are your local states then able to overrule Federal FAA rules?

    I’m from Canada and I sometimes find the differences between our countries regarding federal versus state (or provincial up here) things to be a bit confusing. I believe up here only our Federal Agency (Transport Canada) can dictate airspace related things, provinces and municipalities can request changes but thankfully only the ‘Feds’ can make it stick or not. Don’t know how it is affected for local bylaws though.

    (Similar systems, just totally different!!!)

    That would also include those little ‘toy’ helicopters that your Radio Shack stores (and the like) sell?

    Sounds like Oregon hasn’t really thought through the law completely. Just like Florida had to admit they made a mistake recently about requiring ALL foreign drivers licences to be accompanied with an International Permit even though their intent was just for licenses in languages other than English (or American!!). After enough of us Canucks complained they admitted that they hadn’t thought it through enough and their police all indicated that the law wouldn’t be enforced until a revised version was passed later in the year.

    Could be after enough protest they will ‘adjust’ their law to be more sensible. (Hopefully, probably clutching at straws here)

  • @Michael – I don’t claim to be an expert by any means. How Federal and State laws interface is far from straight forward. First of all the FAA rules on UAVs are just FAA guide lines, I don’t think they are Federal Laws but even if they were laws in the case that a State law is more restrictive than a Federal law I would think the State would hold.

    We have a similar thing in reverse going on with Marijuana regulations… Federal law says Marijuana possession and use IS NOT legal but in CO and WA the State law says Marijuana IS legal to possess and use. My understanding is that much depends on if the Federal Attorney general choses to prosecute the Federal law in CO and WA. As yet nothing has happened so no one knows the answer.

    There is going to be a huge amount of protest here in Oregon about the proposed Senate Bill 71, I doubt they will get away with passing it. Well know more when they have a hearing and we see how how many show up from each side.

  • Actually it is a local issue, the city of Charlottesville passed a law banning drones. Your city council members take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of your home state. Cities and towns can send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. It is easier and faster to initiate and accomplish this on the local level.
    The managers of the FAA are from the companies and industries it is supposed to regulate, it is just a tool of the military industrial complex. There are 100’s of companies that have a vested interest in drone manufacturing and support. (http://www.auvsi.org/MembershipandChapters/CorporateMembers). The military division of Boeing is headquartered in my town, I am sure they would like to support a fleet of drones.
    Here is a video of what some college kids were able to do with a drone: drop bombs, shoot rockets and perform surveillance, all under 400 feet. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvVnfiUkH7c). This is what they are capable of today, what can they do 10 years from now? They have to be restricted.

  • I see a lot of parallels between “drone control” & “gun control”. The fears are quite similar, so are the reactions from each side. Blanket laws that are too broad and inclusive solve nothing for either side. Blanket laws won’t stop an idiot hell bent to cause harm with a gun or a drone.

    To restrict the fair use of an RC aircraft for hobbyist enjoyment is ludicrous. It’s right up there with restricting the use of a BB gun! I also feel the same way about restricting the use of a lightweight arial drone for photography.

    Somewhere in all this I truly hope that a healthy dose of common sense prevails. But I might be suffering from a huge dose of polyanna….

  • Oregon seems to be going way overboard here. The other states considering legislation are looking to restrict unlimited use for surveillance. That’s more of a protection of fourth amendment rights than a power grab. As for Oregon? Wow…

  • The solution to this challenge is simple. Do your homework, discover just what activities your idiot representatives are up to and publicize them. Just about every one of them has a problem in their closet, their hand in the til somewhere, and if exposed would effectively shut them up. We are surrounded by liars and cheats these days, and being a member of congress, or the senate, or any other department or division of government is not a guarantee of their honesty, in fact just about the opposite. Find the hole and go after it, then and only then will you see some of this lunacy begin to slow down. Instead of knee jerk reactions from idiots in government, help structure the legitimate use of drones. There is all kinds of reasons to support proper use, just let the public know, then they will be on your side. Keep them ignorant (that seems to be government’s job) and they will be on the wrong side.

  • Ive been, I was going to say busted, but I haven’t been charged with anything regarding aerial photography from multirotors three times.

    I’d point out that in the US we are innocent until proven guilty, in order to prove your guilt they have to be charge you with something, I pointed this out to the police officers who have confronted me and there really wasn’t anything they could charge me with. Obviously thanks to the political pinheads in Oregon, and other states, they’re trying to change this.

    I have built 12 of these, at considerable expense, that can lift a GoPro, Sony NEX5n and even a Canon 60D. I could carry bigger camera’s but for real estate its not necessary. Realtors really like the aerial perspective but in the political environment we are currently in I don’t see a future for this kind of work. Even if they come up with some sort of legislation to allow AP it will be over regulated and too expensive to be profitable.

    “Here is a video of what some college kids were able to do with a drone: drop bombs, shoot rockets and perform surveillance, all under 400 feet. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvVnfiUkH7c). This is what they are capable of today, what can they do 10 years from now? They have to be restricted.” Everything they did in that video was possible 20 years ago, it wasn’t even a good demonstration. If that’s the level of what you/they think is possible then there’s nothing to worry about. This is just pure paranoia.

    “Your city council members take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of your home state. ” The US Constitution was written to protect the civil liberties of individual citizens that includes the right to own a gun or a drone. You start restricting any of these rights and where does it end?

    After 9/11 a confused individual flew a Cessna into a high rise office building, all he accomplished was to kill himself and break some windows. Not even a small airplane could carry enough explosive material to do much damage, what do people think small RC helicopters used for AP are going to accomplish?

    Common sense became a joke in the US a little over four years ago. It’s hard to believe this is happening.

  • An article about this issue I just came across yesterday:

    Damn the regulations! Drones plying US skies without waiting for FAA rules
    http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/04/17181948-damn-the-regulations-drones-plying-us-skies-without-waiting-for-faa-rules?lite

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