Missouri Anti-Drone Bill Lacks Teeth
February 8, 2013 in Resistance
February 8, 2013
Like so much legislation being proposed or passed lately we see the gravitation towards “safe” language within these bills. Just take for example the so-called “anti-NDAA” legislation, HB 57, initially we wrote that it would certainly outlaw indefinite detention of Missouri citizens. In a matter of a week or two, P.A.N.D.A., one of the largest organizations against the NDAA spoke out against it saying that the bill was nothing more than “fluff”. What was their reason for saying such a thing? As Heather Cottner, the Missouri State Coordinator for P.A.N.D.A., explained that the organization’s legal team reviewed the language within the bill and determined that any shrewd politician or lawyer could easily get around what the legislation claims to be outlawing.
This controversy provides the context in how one should view legislation being presented at the local level. With that being said, we should be circumspect about Rep. Casey Guernsey’s HB 46 “Preserving Freedom From Unwarranted Surveillance Act”. In a nutshell his bill only outlaws “unwarranted” spying from any person or State Department and in no way protects citizens from law enforcement. A couple of things come to mind when I read this bill:
- It only seems to outlaw the use of drones against citizens without authorization by a magistrate. In other words, Federal agencies and local police can still use drones against the public as long as they and the magistrate believe there is a just cause. The language in this bill does nothing to protect the citizens from other potential actions that various UAVs are capable of. Furthermore, regarding warrants, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have drastically expanded upon what is deemed as “suspicious activity” thus giving them just cause to target almost anyone for the slightest infraction. Another aspect that should be pondered is that many judges these days don’t resist much when it comes to warrants. Unfortunately, unless it’s something bizarre, the judge will usually side with Feds or the police and issue the authorization.
- This bill could also be used to justify the outlawing of drones for private use amongst hobbyists and farmers. The main reason why this option could be on the table in the future is a simple fact that the Federal agencies and local police have to have warrants to use them. This could lead to the line of thought “if the government needs permission, why not the people?” They could easily create a registry for private UAV owners and like gun registration; the state could regulate who doesn’t get to operate drones according to whatever vague standard they put in place. All the government needs is a few extreme examples of citizens improperly using their drone and legislation or an amendment could be made to restrict or outlaw them all together for the public. Presently, the FAA has little regulation on private use of drones, as long as the UAV is flying under “400 feet”, maintains a “pilot in control”, and stays away from “built up areas”…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE