Will the Government Ban These Drones Equipped with Guns?

We have already seen a lot of news coverage on drones this week, including one flying over the White House and the horrible story about drones preventing helicopters from putting out wildfires in California. A new video recently went viral on Youtube showing a drone flying and firing a handgun. The video and contraption were created by 18-year-old Austin Haughwout, who has come under immense scrutiny.   

First of all, let's just appreciate this young man's ingenuity. No matter how clever Austin's flying killing machine looks in video, this is sure to cause problems for the drone community as a whole.  We all know the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to create new regulations for personal and commercial drone usage, and surely this new drone video will negatively affect the proposed laws for aspiring aerial photographers and videographers. The FAA is investigating the young engineering student, who will most likely be charged with violating two bans: releasing anything from an aircraft and arming a civilian aircraft. This makes me wonder if the FAA is investigating the two guys who attached Roman Candles to a drone as well? Are water balloons considered a weapon if they are "released from an aircraft"? Would the FAA have cared if it was a Red Ryder BB gun? 

In light of recent events, I would not be surprised in the least if the government started regulating drone usage. We all know these regulations are coming but the question becomes where will we draw the line?  If an 18 year-old rigged a gun to the front of his car, do you think driving a car would be questioned simply because one incident made the news? Boys will be boys. While we wait to hear the results of the investigation, we want to remind our Connecticut readers, if you see a drone flying, duck.  It must just be equipped with an AR-15. 


Where do you think this investigation will go? Is the FAA justified in their investigation? 


Chelsey Rogers's picture

Chelsey Rogers is a commercial video editor. She's done work for Walmart, Hallmark, and many other Fortune 500 companies.

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What if it comes out that the gun was firing blanks? or it was just a cap gun? or it was all cgi? Where is the line that this changes from something so scary that we need to ban all drones to a funny viral internet video?

Imagine if you aligned the gun sight with a crosshair in the camera which i imagine would not be all that hard. Then you could assasinate someone speaking in public from a window or a car with nothing but the remote linking you to the crime and if you have another drone that would not be enough evidence linking you to the crime.

Hah yes I suppose that's true. You could also go set your neighbors house on fire and you could probably get away with that too.

Don't like his garden gnomes much do you Lee?

FAA has been out gunned from the get-go. They'll renege trying to oversee all uavs before it is said & done. Their stance has been faulty from the beginning, basically stating "if it is in US airspace, we have jurisdiction", yet they really haven't even been able to define what is legal or illegal. Not to mention property owners technically own up to 1,000 feet in the air directly above their property, which would be out of the FAA's jurisdiction. They define a UAV as anything unmanned, ... so it is basically illegal to throw those giant styrofoam airplanes every kid in the 90s had. (it's unmanned..) And the ironic elephant in the room is fireworks. Mortars that can fly 100-150 feet in the air...unmanned...and explode. No permits needed for those.

The Connecticut comment was in poor taste. And in California, a BB fun is a firearm. At least, it was when I got my school vacation for having one in my car.

Why is it in bad taste? The 18 year old who made this lives in CT.

The immaturity of many humans makes me think they should ban all drones, or require strict licensing, registration and perhaps a tab system like vehicles. After all pilots have medical and licensing requirements in order to be pilots. A system like the suggestion would cull some of the fools out of the risk pool. As far as carrying guns, that's fine, as long as I can shoot back. A shotgun really messes up your pretty drone. :-)

Government drones with missiles have killed far more innocent people. 168 to 197 children in Pakistan alone in the past 10 years. Where is the outrage in that? Seems the citizens should be regulating their own government first. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_strikes_in_Pakistan

The youtube comments are the same, people are so terrified of this drone with a handgun compared to something that carries an aptly named HELLFIRE MISSILE. Cmon' folks

This is why we can't have nice things.

It's happening!!! Skynet is coming!

My opinion is that drones will ultimately be regulated heavily like cars, airplanes or anything else and this is simply because laws are made for the lowest common denominator of user rather than the most safe, moral observing, or competent.

Pretty sure everyone in the entire world is missing the point here, a ban on drones with or without guns is like.... a ban on drugs and guns.... yet everyone has them.... if someone wants to make a killing drone, they are going to do it. There are laws, but people break them all the time, I'm pretty sure it was illegal to crash a plane or two into the world trade center buildings but guess what, someone did it.

This episode just illustrates the dilemma facing society where technology and freedom collide.
Yes we have the second amendment and we know how that's settled all the arguments.

In the end we will have a lot of discussion and disputation but the real test will happen when someone takes out a passenger plane by accident or on purpose or someone maliciously arms a drone with a bomb.

All the "what if this" and "what about military drones and hellfire missiles..." and FAA incompetency arguments completely ignore the larger issue. The 18-year old that devised this contraption just HOSED all the well-intended, law abiding drone users by exposing how easy it is to arm a drone for any purpose whatsoever. WHAT its armed with isn't the point...it could be an incendiary or explosive device, a bio-weapon, a laser used to aim at pilots of legit, passenger carrying aircraft....you name it. The fear that such a device could be made and used in a domestic terror incident by some disillusioned teen who spends his time chatting it up with ISIS on his Facebook page is what will propel state and federal agencies to adopt sweeping regulations governing who can own drones and for what purpose. As an American in his 50s I don't like Big Brother's intrusion in my life, but these machines and their owners should absolutely be as regulated as anyone seeking to obtain a pilots license, including a criminal background check. This alone won't stop the loons from doing what they will illegally but there cannot be an environment of laxadasical oversight just because the cat's out of the bag either. In light of this teen's reinvention of purpose I'd argue this justifies regulation to its fullest extent.