Oklahoma bill would let homeowners destroy drones flying over their property

drone drunk new jersey 54229732  male pilot controlling with remote control
Drone owners in Oklahoma may soon be forced to keep their unmanned aerial vehicles on a short lease or risk losing them to rifle-wielding homeowners. A new bill, sponsored by Oklahoma state Senator Ralph Shortey, makes it easier for a homeowner to shoot down or otherwise immobilize a drone that is flying over their private property.

As it is written, Oklahoma Senate Bill 660, removes any civil liability for a property owner who damages or destroys a drone that is flying in the airspace above their premises. The bill states, “Any person owning or controlling real estate or other premises who voluntarily damages or destroys a drone located on the real estate or premises or within the airspace of the real estate or premises not otherwise regulated by the Federal Aviation shall, together with any successors in interest, if any, not be civilly liable for causing the damage or destruction to the property of such person.”

The bill was a response to skirmishes between homeowners and drones. In particular, Bill sponsor Senator Shortey points to a 2015 incident in which a drone that was being flown by an animal protection group was shot down over a pigeon shoot fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma. When defending his bill, Shortey points to the thorny issue of privacy in a statement provided to the Tulsa World newspaper. “As a private citizen, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your property where the public does not have access, and that is under 400 feet.”

The bill has passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with an 11-0 vote but has not been debated on the floor of either the House or the Senate. The bill is expected to be taken up by the full Senate in the coming weeks. Even if it passes through the state legislature and becomes law, it may not stand for very long, argues Stephen McKeever, the chairman of Oklahoma’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Council, which opposes the measure.

According to McKeever , the bill may run afoul of FAA regulations that make it illegal to shoot down an aircraft. Though the term “aircraft” conjures up images of Cessna and Lear jets, the FAA considers a drone to be a form of aircraft and blankets these UAVs with the same protections provided to conventional aircraft. The Oklahoma bill also allows a homeowner to shoot down a drone flying at any altitude, which runs afoul of the FAA’s statement that any airspace from the ground up is regulated by the FAA and not under the control of individual states.

And on a more practical level, shooting a drone out of the sky is dangerous and will land someone in hot water as the discharge of any weapon within a residential area is legally restricted in Oklahoma and most other U.S. states.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Everything you need to know about the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft

Two recent crashes involving Boeing 737 MAX planes have raised fears about whether these planes are safe to fly. Here's everything you need to know about the technology onboard the planes and what went wrong to cause these two tragedies.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Emerging Tech

Dublin Airport has a novel idea for tackling rogue drones

There are a growing number of technology-based solutions for dealing with rogue drones flying near airports, but officials at Dublin Airport have come up with another idea for keeping the skies safe.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.
Emerging Tech

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super-speedy pulsar

A super-speedy pulsar has been spotted dashing across the sky, discovered using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Very Large Array. The pulsar is traveling at a breathtaking 2.5 million miles an hour.
Emerging Tech

Chilean telescope uncovers one of the oldest star clusters in the galaxy

An ultra-high definition image captured by the Gemini South telescope in Chile has uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way. The cluster, called HP 1, could give clues to how our galaxy was formed billions of years ago.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers discover giant chimneys spewing energy from the center of the galaxy

Astronomers have discovered two exhaust channels which are funneling matter and energy away from the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy and out towards the edges of the galaxy, dubbed galactic center chimneys.
Emerging Tech

A milestone in the history of particle physics: Why does matter exist?

If matter and antimatter were both produced in equal amounts by the Big Bang, why is there so much matter around us and so little antimatter? A new experiment from CERN may hold the answer to this decades-long puzzle.
Emerging Tech

This sleek new exoskeleton makes walking easier, fits under your clothes

A new ankle exoskeleton that is designed to be worn under clothes can help people to walk without fatiguing — and without restricting natural motion or drawing attention to itself.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s latest breakthrough could make DNA-based data centers possible

Could tomorrow's data centers possibly store information in the form of synthetic DNA? Researchers from Microsoft have successfully encoded the word "hello" into DNA and then back again.
Emerging Tech

Here are the best (and least likely to explode) hoverboards you can buy

With widespread reports of cheap, knock-off Chinese hoverboards exploding, these self-balancing scooters may be getting a rough reputation. They're not all bad, though. Ride in style with our picks for the best -- and safest -- hoverboards
Emerging Tech

Google’s Street View is mapping Earth’s most Mars-like terrain

Devon Island is a remote location in Canada's Arctic that's said to be the most Mars-like place on Earth. Street View recently visited the island to map the terrain and meet some of the scientists working there.