Guns and Drones


PDA






H.m.B
April 10, 2013, 07:23 PM
I ran across this article (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/9/model-aircraft-owners-drawn-privacy-debate-drones/?page=all) in the Washington Times this morning about how model aircraft owners are being drawn into the privacy debate on drones and the impact that it may/will have on their hobby. I couldn't help think about a similar corollary between fully automatic "assault rifles" used by the military and their civilian "sporting rifle" counterparts.

Some key points from the article ...


A thin, blurry line
The distinctions between model airplanes and drones may seem apparent to most - models are used for recreation, while drones are used for military operations, law enforcement or research.
There's a growing fear that model aircraft could become a casualty in the unfolding U.S. drone boom.
There's virtually no physical difference, whether it be size or some other factor, between what constitutes a model aircraft and a drone. Both clearly fall within the definition of an unmanned aerial system.
In the years to come, problems are likely to arise when lawmakers, concerned about drones' ability to infringe on Fourth Amendment and personal privacy rights, draft sweeping legislation that may catch model aircraft in the crossfire.


How similar they are to our interests ...

A thin, blurry line
The distinctions between military weapons and military-styled weapons may seem apparent to most - military-styled weapons are used for recreation, while military weapons are used for military operations and law enforcement.
There's a growing fear that military-styled weapons could become a casualty in the unfolding firearms restriction debate in the U.S.
With the exception of select-fire capability, there's virtually no physical difference, whether it be size or some other factor, between what constitutes a military-styled weapon and actual military weapons. Both clearly fall within the definition of a firearm.
In the years to come, problems are likely to arise when lawmakers, concerned about military-styled weapons, elect to infringe on Second Amendment rights by drafting sweeping legislation that may catch civilian sporting rifles in the crossfire.

"While the technical differences are important, the true distinction between a model plane and a drone stems from the motivation of the operator." I think the same can be said of firearms and gun owners as well ... firearms are only as dangerous as the hands that they're in.

If you enjoyed reading about "Guns and Drones" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
SharpsDressedMan
April 10, 2013, 09:54 PM
A model airplane being flown for fun is not the same as one equipped with surveillance equipment. How could anyone not see the difference? It is the USE to which they are put that makes the difference. You could pass a law against them both, or the law could prevent their use to conduct surveillance. You can own a phone tap, and put in on your own in-house phones, but the criminal use starts when you infringe on someone else's privacy.

HorseSoldier
April 10, 2013, 09:58 PM
A model airplane being flown for fun is not the same as one equipped with surveillance equipment.

And therein is the big cost differential also -- a lot of UAVs aren't anything a hobbyist couldn't build easily, in terms of the airframe. It's the cameras and electronics that make them big ticket items.

Like guns, though, I suppose there is potential for misuse. A UAV IED would make for some huge security headaches even if it had to be directed by an operator with line of sight to it and no fancy camera and data link.

cfullgraf
April 10, 2013, 11:14 PM
And therein is the big cost differential also -- a lot of UAVs aren't anything a hobbyist couldn't build easily, in terms of the airframe. It's the cameras and electronics that make them big ticket items.



While I will agree military drones are expensive in part due to the extended range of operation, the equipment on board, the "military equipment" moniker, and other reasons. But, the capability for surveillance can be quite inexpensive.

I bought a 4 rotor helicopter a few months ago that includes two cameras. The aerial vehicle is flown using and iPhone so it is easy to fly. Cost was a couple hundred dollars. The cameras give a live view and can be stored for future viewing.

While this helicopter is fairly short range limited by the Wi-fi range, there is equipment on the market that gives more range. No reason an enterprising individual could build a surveillance radio controlled plane and do "spying" on a short range basis.

Also, there are models on the market that look just like the military drones. Sound familiar? I can see problems brewing.

If you enjoyed reading about "Guns and Drones" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!