A late-hour lobbying effort has made North Dakota the first U.S. state that permits the police to shoot at people using drones.
The North Dakota Legislature approved a bill that permits the use of drone-borne non-lethal weapons after what The Daily Beast describes as “last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist.”
From The Daily Beast Wednesday:
With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than lethal” weapons. House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way, but then a lobbyist representing law enforcement — tight with a booming drone industry — got his hands on it.
The bill’s stated intent was to require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. In fact, the original draft of Rep. Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones.
But a committee in the North Dakota House of Representatives allowed a representative from the state Peace Officer’s Association to amend the bill, scaling back language that prohibited the restrictions on the use of weapons. The final version of the bill disappointed Becker, the bill’s sponsor, who had argued earlier this year for a specific ban on law enforcement’s use of drone-borne weapons.