In a surprising development, Police in North Dakota are now authorised to use armed drones equipped with tasers, rubber bullets, tear gas and other “non-lethal” weapons, after the passage of House Bill 1328. Ironically, this bill was originally intended to limit the surveillance powers of the police.
Do you remember the terror-drone out in the wild that fired deadly bullets? If that news disturbed you, here’s something more. The police force in North Dakota will be the very first one in the US to start using armed drones with non-lethal weapons. However, these non-lethal weapons have killed as many as 40 people in the US this year.
North Dakota, the first US state to legalize the armed drones, is one of the six officially designated test sites where testing of drones is allowed. Here, the police will need a warrant that will state the information about exactly where, why and for how long a drone will be deployed. Previously passed version of HB 1328 prevented the law enforcement from using the information obtained from a drone to get a warrant- or to use it as an evidence in court.
According to the Daily Beast, the police had been arguing from a long time that there was no need for the House Bill 1328. Police supported their argument by comparing the similarities in drone and helicopters.
Rick Becker, the original sponsor of the bill, said: “This is one I’m not in full agreement with. I wish it was any weapon. In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period.”
The new and revised version of the bill now allows police to load the UAVs with bean bags, sound cannons, rubber bullets, pepper spray and other less-lethal weapons. This bill also includes the need of extensive reporting to force the police transparency.
It would be interesting to see how fast the police department starts using the armed drones. Talking about the other states, we could expect similar laws and some more heated debates on this topic.
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