The government and others are going nuts over a Connecticut teen’s pretty cool invention: a drone with a gun. Austin Haughwout posted YouTube video on July 10th, showing the drone firing a semiautomatic handgun.
Cue government outrage. Clinton police are up in arms (pun intended) over Haughwout’s invention, with one officer saying it’s obvious technology is surpassing legislation. They’re now actively trying to figure out if they can charge the teen, even though the gun was fired on private property (emphasis mine):
We are attempting to determine if any laws have been violated at this point. It would seem to the average person, there should be something prohibiting a person from attaching a weapon to a drone. At this point, we can’t find anything that’s been violated.
The FAA and ATF are also involved because how dare someone invent new gun-related technology which they didn’t know about. It’s absolutely ridiculous because the drone was flying no more than seven feet off the ground. The feds are probably just annoyed that they didn’t come up with the “flying gun” idea first — or that someone was able to make a working prototype when their scientists couldn’t.
There are people who are extremely happy with the federal government’s investigation, however. The ACLU of Connecticut, the organization that claims to want the government to stop using drones in surveillance, is now calling on the government to push through comprehensive regulations for drones. One “drone advocate” even told ABC News arming a drone is immoral.
Drones should be used for good, not for evil…There are countless ways that drones can be useful. Using one as a remote-controlled weapon is not one of them, and I question the judgment of anyone who would attempt to do so.
People need to remember drones are amoral tools. They can all be used for good or evil, depending on how the person operating said tool acts. South Park had a pretty good episode on drones last year. Trey Parker used the same logic Second Amendment activists use to defend gun ownership to defend drone usage. He pointed out drones can’t think for themselves, but people need to act responsibly with them. In the Connecticut case, Haughwout was acting responsibly. Those wanting to seriously regulate drones, armed or not, are forgetting how they can be used for good. Ranchers can use them to patrol their fields. Hunters could use them on tough to find predators. People who prefer not to go outside at night could use an armed drone to detect prowlers. They can also be used irresponsibly, but so can cell phones, hammers, cars, computers, and guns. This doesn’t mean any of these should be banned or regulated to the degree. Users need to be careful in how they operate drones. If one is used in a crime, then the operators need to be held accountable.
The free market is also stepping up with anti-drone technology. Popular Mechanics did an article in May on the anti-drone industry. DroneShield co-founder Brian Hearing points out the technology is still developing.
A lot of people are disappointed that we don’t have silver bullet to take down drones…Any defense contractor that’s been working on drone countermeasures for decades and could come in and really change the game for us if they woke up to the fact that consumer drones are coming.
This is why the government doesn’t necessarily need to be involved in the Connecticut case. The private sector is already working on ways to counter drones. It will become even easier to stop drones, once the technology catches up. Plus, there’s always the simplest solution: take a shotgun to the offending drone. Problem solved.
There’s a bigger issue at play. People on both sides of the aisle seem to be willing to run to the government to solve a problem. The left flipped about 3D printed guns and wants a ban. Taxi companies in New York City, Dallas, and other cities are going to the government for help with Uber and Lyft, instead of changing their business model. Banks and car companies went to the government in 2008 for help, instead of going through bankruptcy and selling off their profitable departments for cash. Two law enforcement groups went to the Texas Legislature to try to stop cop watching groups from filming them. The temperance movement got prohibition passed. Moms Demand goes to every governmental body out there to limit gun ownership, instead of promoting gun safety and training. Even I believed the government should ban all drones, commercial and military, before realizing how hypocritical I was being.
These are people basically doing their best imitation of the peasants from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But instead of yelling, “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” they’re yelling, “Help! Help! I’m being offended!” and demanding the government solve the problem. This is what the Connecticut flying gun situation shows. It’s not just that a teen was able to create a really cool thing, but that people so offended by it are demanding that the government do … something.