Should drones be weaponized with lethal weapons? That’s the question that lawmakers in Hartford, Connecticut are contemplating. If they agree to weaponized their drones with full lethal capabilities, they will be the first state in the country to do so. The issue comes straight down to civil rights.
If the bill passed, Connecticut police would be the only entity legally allowed to operate the drones. Once passed, new rules will be set forth by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council. These rules will declare when and how drones should be used in policing. There would be clear training involved, but according to Sen. John Kissel, the use of drones will still be under limited circumstances:
“Obviously this is for very limited circumstances. We can certainly envision some incident on some campus or someplace where someone is a rogue shooter or someone was kidnapped and you try to blow out a tire.”
While Connecticut would be the first state to weaponized their drones for lethal force, they aren’t the first to weaponized. North Dakota has approved “less lethal” drones to fly. These “less lethal” tactics include rubber bullets, stun guns, and tear gas. Connecticut, on the other hand, will have full ability to kill with their drones if the bill is passed.
Five states currently ban all weaponized drones while two states just ban police from using them. Numerous other states have restricted drones as a whole, and several others are still determining what they want to do. Scot X. Esdaile, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, stated his own concerns of giving police the ability to fly weaponized drones:
“We have huge concerns that they would use this new technology to abuse our communities.”
The executive director of the state ACLU, David McGuire, also stated his opinion on the matter:
“We would be setting a dangerous precedent. It is really concerning and outrageous that that’s being considered in our state legislature. Lethal force raises this to a level of real heightened concern.”
However, the bill doesn’t come without its checks and balances. According to the bill, a weaponized drone can only be used after a warrant is granted to the police force. The warrant can be overridden if emergency circumstances call for such. The bill also states that police will have new reporting measures on the frequency of drone use and they will need to create new disciplinary actions for those who break drone rules.
The bill passed the Judiciary Committee with ease, but numerous members are hoping to see it get to the House floor for one reason: To start the debate. You see, if the House begins debating this, more eyes will see what’s going on will (hopefully) get involved. Democratic Sen. Edwin Gomes said the following of weaponized police drones:
“I think that police are taught one thing; You put a weapon in their hand, they shoot center mass, they shoot to kill. If it’s going to be used, you’re going to use it to kill somebody.”
What do you think about weaponized drones? Do you think it puts American at risk of a militarized type police system? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!