Earlier this summer, a Connecticut man rigged a handgun to the top of an unmanned aircraft, posting a video of the device hovering in the woods and firing shots. The spectacle raised more concern about how consumers or law enforcement could wreak havoc with drones, a fast-growing technology with immense potential.
The leading drone industry group, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and some law enforcement groups have spoken out against equipping the unmanned devices with weapons. But as those stakeholders cannot make laws, individuals and police can make a case for arming drones in most of the United States.
The prospect of police shooting rubber bullets or spraying tear gas from a drone is slim in the immediate future. But as more UAVs take flight in the U.S., some lawmakers are pushing for clearer restrictions on arming them, in order to reduce fears of users abusing the legal uncertainty.