23 Comments

  • Personally I’m sympathetic to the shooter in this case.

    • Me, too, MattS, but it’s a tough call. The law generally frowns on self-help remedies like this one, though it’s not clear what else he could have done if he had no idea who is operating the drone.

      The landowner should wait until the drone owner files suit and then counterclaim for trespass, invasion of privacy, etc. Sounds like that’s his plan.

      • So, IANAL, but how much of the airspace above your property is yours? I thought I’d read somewhere that it was generally understood that you own 4 or 500 feet above your property.

        • @rpearso3,

          The maximum effective range for bird shot is around 150 yard, or 450 feet, so the drone couldn’t have been any higher than that.

  • Since the FAA treats drones like airplanes, shooting one out of the sky could put him in front of a $250,000 fine and 20 years in jail.

    I am not sympathetic to the shooter, at all. He said all the right things to get the public on his side, and I’d bet dollars to donuts the drone operator was doing nothing that he is accused of. (Girls bedroom, below the awning of the deck, etc)

    • “and Iā€™d bet dollars to donuts the drone operator was doing nothing that he is accused of.”

      Sorry, I can’t agree with this. The drone operating was in the wrong even if just for simply operating a drone with a camera over private property without the owner’s consent.

    • The FAA classifies drones under 55 pounds as a “model aircraft,” which is not nearly the same thing as an “airplane.”

  • I think that the only problem this guy has to worry about would be negligent discharge of a firearm.

    We have a local guy who is flying his drone around the neighborhood looking at roofs. If he sees something that he thinks needs repaired he leaves a picture of the damage, an estimate and his business card in an envelope at the house.

    Who knows what else he’s looking at.

    I’ve told him to keep it away from my house. If I see it there I’m going to shoot it down, but, I’ll use a paintball gun. It is legal to shoot in my area.

    • As I read the FAA regulations, what your local guy is doing is against the FAA regulations.

      See pages 10 – 11 of this FAA document: https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf

      One of the examples of a prohibited activity of model aircraft / drones is using the drone to take pictures of real estate property as it is using the drone for a commercial purpose.

    • Legal to shoot maybe. But what happens when the your paintball leaves your property. Are you accepting the same strict liability for trespass and property damage that you seem to be demanding of a flying model.
      Strategic Defense Initiative equivalent to be deployed by neighbors to intercept errant paintballs next.

      • “Strategic Defense Initiative equivalent to be deployed by neighbors to intercept errant paintballs next.”

        Followed quickly by roof mounted 4 barrel radar guided auto paintball guns.

        • That would be AWESOME!

          • Works on pigeons as well as drones. šŸ™‚

        • That wouldn’t be too hard to do. I think I saw plans for a small LIDAR system someplace.

  • The camera and any reception of the data it transmitted should be subpoenaed, to determine exactly what the drone was doing before it was shot down.Hovering over the shooter’s property to photograph his house would be wrong even if the child’s bedroom was not targeted.

    This investigation should also identify and name the three heavies that the alleged trespasser brought with him

  • There’s more to the story than initially reported. The drone wasn’t just over his property. Rather, according to the Washington Times, there’s a Peeping Tom element:

    Ky. man arrested after shooting down $1,800 drone hovering over sunbathing daughter

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/30/william-merideth-arrested-after-shooting-down-1800/

  • The biggest problem I have with shooting into the air is that a bullet that misses its target will land somewhere. That place could be a human body. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebratory_gunfire

    • It’s birdshot. Birdshot, fired into the air (as at birds, skeet, or drones) is not dangerous when it comes back down. Literally, it will bounce off your clothing (something I have experienced, in the country).

    • @captnhal

      Your link talks about a .30 caliber round fired into the are coming down with enough force to penetrate human skin.

      .30 rounds are typically between 150 and 220 grains. If you split the difference, that’s 185 grains which is just a bit under 12 grams.

      On the other hand a pellet of # 8 birdshot is going to be 0.07 grams if it’s lead shot or 0.04 grams for steel shot.

      In other words, the .30 caliber round that might do some damage is 171 times more massive than a #8 birdshot pellet.

  • The original author Walter linked to has posted a follow-up article at the same site (but different URL).
    The drone’s owner has produced a video and telemetry suggesting the drone was more distant and less intrusive than the shooter claimed. Maybe they could be faked, but maybe the shooter could lie.

  • @MattS–
    I have been working with a smart phone that does not let me copy and paste text and URLs. You can find a link to the follow-up article by going to the original one.