Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota

North Dakota is the first state in the union to use drones armed with tasers - and tear gas or other non-lethal weapons.

House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way, but then a lobbyist representing law enforcement—tight with a booming drone industry—got his hands on it.

The bill’s stated intent was to require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. In fact, the original draft of Representative Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones.

Then Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association was allowed by the state house committee to amend HB 1328 and limit the prohibition only to lethal weapons. “Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are therefore permitted on police drones.

Becker, the bill’s Republican sponsor, said he had to live with it.

“This is one I’m not in full agreement with. I wish it was any weapon,” he said at a hearing in March. “In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period.”

Science fiction fans have seen this future - in the fiction of generations past. In his 1985 novel A Day for Damnation, David Gerrold describes a skyball. In his 1972 story Cloak of Anarchy, Larry Niven describes the copseye. And in 1966, Roger Zelazny described eyes in his story This Moment of the Storm that could be armed and sent all over a planet to keep tabs from a single location.

Via Daily Beast; thanks to Winchell Chung of Project Rho and Fred Kiesche for mentioning this story.

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