90 Miles From Tyranny : Should You Be Able to Shoot Down a Drone Spying on Your Backyard?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Should You Be Able to Shoot Down a Drone Spying on Your Backyard?

Lawmakers are responding to controversies involving drones in neighborhoods, where increasing use (even for pizza delivery) is raising national debates over rights to privacy, property, and self-defense.

One operator flew his drone dangerously close to a passenger planeon its final approach to a Dallas airport.

Another stopped fire-fighting helicopters from extinguishingwildfires. One even dropped 65.4 grams of marijuana, 6.6 grams of heroin, and 144.5 grams of tobacco into a crowded prison yard.

And in a “drunken misadventure,” a National Geospatial Intelligence Agency employee crashed a drone onto the White House lawn. The Secret Service could have destroyed that drone.

But if your neighbor’s drone comes onto your lawn, and if it is equipped with a camera or some unwelcome item, can you shoot it down without being arrested?

A teenage girl was sunbathing in her backyard in Hillview, Ky. when she saw a drone equipped with a camera hovering overhead, something which she, quite reasonably, found creepy. She alerted her father, who recalls:
I went and got my shotgun and I said, “I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.” Within a minute or so, here it came. It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky. I didn’t shoot across the road, I didn’t shoot across my neighbor’s fences, I shot directly into the air.
The father defends his decision:
You know, when you’re in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy. We don’t know if he was looking at the girls. We don’t know if he was looking for something to steal. To me, it was the same as trespassing.
For defending against the unknown, he was arrested and charged with felony wanton endangerment and criminal mischief.

And he’s not alone.

A New Jersey resident who shot down a neighbor’s drone was arrested and charged with...Read More HERE


  1. it is better to ask forgiveness than permission

  2. Short answer, yes. Just make sure you know what's on the other side of your target so you're not shooting your neighbors, too.

  3. The short answer is: It depends. The laws in each locality and state are very different from one place to another.

    Lots of neighborhoods have restrictions on the use of firearms inside the city limits or inhabited areas. There are no exceptions for "drones". Your rights to privacy do not include "airspace" above your property. Police helicopters have been looking into back yards and spying on sunbathers for decades. You don't get to shoot them down either. The drone is just another application of a concept (manned flight) that already exists and for which the rules are already in place. There are also plenty of laws already in place for when you are permitted to damage the property belonging to another person. If a neighbors cow wanders onto your property, you are not entitled to BBQ it but do have an obligation to return it promptly. A drone is very similar except it is under the active control of the owner. You are limited to seeking to recover damages from the owner in most cases to actual damages incurred, not imaginary damages like the loss of your privacy. Shooting at a drone over your property is possibly a violation of laws regarding malicious destruction of private property, vandalism, public endangerment, and various forms of firearms violations. And God Help you if your bullet strikes a neighbor.

    1. A cow is not directed by it's owner. Your property rights extend into the sky, in the UK apx 500 ft and it has been assumed in the US as well, but that's never been to court. If someone flies a drone over your land w/o permission at less than that height, they are technically trespassing.

    2. Assumed != the law. In the USA, private property does not convey airspace rights. See, Police and news helicopters. We have had these for decades. This is not new law. A cow can be trained, though I don't see any point to trying. The drone is the property of it's owner. the owner is responsible for any damage the drone does, even if temporarily out of control, just as the cow's owner is responsible if the cow breaks down a fence and eats the neighbors turnips. At most, the homeowner can hold the drone until it is claimed by the owner. Trespassing does not convey permission to destroy.

    3. If you want to know the best way to destroy a drone and dissuade it's owner from using it to observe your property, try parking your drone over someone like Dianne Feinstein's house. The various laws against staking and obscure trespass regs will be made plain to you within the hour.

  4. Yes in the circumstance that this incident occurred. A flyover drone, one that flies over your house or yard at higher than 250 ft is of no more threat than a PD chopper or FBI plane. If there is a lot of passes and the pilot hasn't announced his flying to you and assured you of their non invasive intent, then NO, let the flyer fly.

    I have one, I fly it all the time, there's a neighbor right next to me that I have to fly over to get to my "Open field area" to fly freely. I have talked to the neighbor and showed them the footage I capture to set their minds at ease.

    The important part to remember is a drone camera can't see through your roof. If it's flying over your yard at it's likely not even looking at your yard In order to get a good image capture down, it really needs to be hovering. If it is hovering over your pool while you or hot wife/daughter etc is out there, yes its a total invasion of privacy. Realize this: If it's stalking your place, follow it. Likely the pilot is less than 1500 ft away. Follow it to the pilot and beat his/her ass.


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