Wednesday, July 29, 2015

of course no laws were broken (except the "peasant, play at your level"! law protocol....,)

courant |  With the viral video of a gun-firing drone making national headlines, Connecticut advocates are re-energized to pass a law next year that would ban such weapons.

The state Senate unanimously passed a bill this year that would have banned weapons on drones used by both the police and the general public. But the bill never came to a vote in the state House of Representatives as time ran out in the legislative session. Advocates say it will be a top priority when the new legislative session begins in February.

Lawmakers have been studying the issue for the past two years, including forming a task force to better understand the new technology.

The latest interest spiked when 18-year-old Austin Haughwout of Clinton released a video that showed a drone carrying a gun firing bullets — which has been shown on television news shows and viewed more than 2.8 million times on YouTube. He was not charged in the case after police said he had not violated any state laws.

"We do not want to see drones with weapons on them, as in this incident, where we can't take any legal action," said Cromwell chief Anthony Salvatore, who has represented the Connecticut police chiefs at the state Capitol for the past two decades. "From law enforcement's perspective, now, probably more than ever, we need to bring the bill back and address this type of situation."

Salvatore has been studying the issue for the past two years, and police have said from the start that they wanted to ban weapons and bombs from drones. But Salvatore said he was surprised at the speed of the change in the technology.

"I didn't think, this soon, that we would have somebody to this extent putting a semi-automatic pistol on a drone," Salvatore said Friday in an interview. "It certainly causes us great concern that it was done, and there were no laws broken. The whole thing causes law enforcement great concern."
He added, "Outside of the military, I cannot see any beneficial use. You wouldn't hunt this way. It's not something I would endorse."

David J. McGuire, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, and others said that legislators were so tied up with the last-minute scramble on the two-year, $40 billion budget that they never debated the drone bill in the House.

"It essentially ran out of time," McGuire said. "The dysfunction of the legislature got to it. ... Everyone was expecting it to pass. It had a lot of momentum."

The video has resharpened the spotlight on the issue.