Cities and states move to restrict, ban drones

A ShadowHawk drone made by Vanguard Defense. The remote-controlled aircraft has been cited as one type of drone that concerns activists in Lawrence, Kan.

A number of municipalities and states across the country are acting on residents' concerns and considering banning the use of drones by private citizens.

Community activists in a Kansas city have called on local political leaders to legislate against the use of privately owned drones, making it one of a growing number of American towns where residents and lawmakers are considering limiting remote-controlled aircraft.

States Rushing To Ban Unmanned Drones From Spying On Us, Carrying Weapons

States Rushing To Ban Unmanned Drones From Spying On Us, Carrying Weapons
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Leaders from five groups near Lawrence, Kan., recently sent a letter to the city commission asking it to "to put in place safeguards ensuring that civil liberties are protected as domestic drones become more common in the coming years,” the Washington Times reported.

Related: How is US drone policy shifting?

Among the safeguards the group mentioned are a ban on drones carrying weapons and a moratorium on all drone use until stricter guidelines can be created.

Leaders from one of the concerned groups, the Douglas County Republican Party, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Federal Aviation Administration estimates, there could be as many as 10,000 privately owned drones in U.S. airspace by 2020, a possibility that makes some Americans shudder. Increasingly, opponents have been organizing and contacting legislators about creating restrictions before thousands more drones take to the skies and potentially collect information on residents below.

Related: Florida town considers using drones to fight mosquitos

According to Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, the new local and state laws are an outgrowth of citizens' concerns about drones across the country. "One of the beautiful things about our system of government is that people can take action on a federal, state and local level," he said.

"Between drones — which have created an upsurge in state and local activity — and the NSA scandals," Stanley said, "the polls have shown a deep concern around the country.  "It seems we are seeing a new awareness of privacy around the country today."

Here are some of the towns, cities and states that have considered or enacted anti-drone legislation:

Deer Trail, Colo.
Earlier this month, the town board split on an ordinance that would allow Deer Trail residents to shoot down drones in exchange for a $100 cash reward. Residents will now vote on the measure in a special election on Oct. 7.

Charlottesville, Va.
In February, Charlottesville passed an anti-drone resolution that endorsed a two-year moratorium on drones in the area and called on Congress and the Virginia General Assembly to prohibit federal and state courts from allowing the introduction of information obtained from domestic drones.

Iowa City, Iowa
In June, Iowa City banned the use of drones within city limits.

St. Bonifacius, Minn.
St. Bonifacius banned the use of drones in its airspace in April.

Texas
The Texas Legislature passed a bill in May that criminalizes the use of drones by individuals to conduct surveillance.

Nationwide, more than 40 states have enacted legislation that regulates drones, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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