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North Dakota Becomes First State To Legalize Drones Weaponized With Tasers, Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets & Sound Cannons

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist.

 

With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than 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.

 

– From the Daily Beast article: First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist

You could see the writing on the walls years ago. In an increasingly authoritarian, lawless, surveillance state like America, it was always inevitable that drones would be weaponized. In North Dakota, this is now a reality.

Although I haven’t written much about domestic drones as of late, I published many articles on the topic several years ago. In the 2012 piece, Drones in America? They are Already Here…I warned:

Like with any new technology, drones can be put to good use or to evil use.  Just like nuclear power can harness energy or destroy humanity altogether, drones could do a lot of good, but the problem is that the government is clearly moving more and more towards a surveillance state so we must be extra careful.  Stay vigilant.

Apparently, North Dakotans weren’t particularly vigilant, and now the state has become the first in the nation to legalize weaponized drones; not a distinction they should be proud of. What started out as a bill to require police using drones for surveillance obtain warrants, turned into a law that puts tasers and tear gas on them. Go ‘Merica.

The Daily Beast reports:

It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist.

 

With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than 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 Rep. Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones.

 

Then Bruce Burkett of 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.

 

Even “less than lethal” weapons can kill though. At least 39 people have been killed by police Tasers in 2015 so far, according to The Guardian. 

And just in case you’re wondering why North Dakota rolled over so easily. The state is desperate for “economic growth,” even if that growth expands GDP via fascist panopticon surveillance.

Drones in North Dakota are a profitable enterprise in a state hit hard by the oil bust. Companies that market machines for agricultural and commercial use have been popping up in industrial parks on the outskirts of Grand Forks for the better part of the last three years. The university, one of the city’s largest employers, even offers a four-year degree in drones. The Air Force has partnered with the private sector to create a drone research and development park, too.

 

Drones are overwhelmingly seen as a good thing in North Dakota, which is perhaps why few noticed when HB 1328 passed with a clause allowing them to be armed with non-lethal weapons.

Because it’s imperative to national security that we make this, so much easier…

Great work North Dakota. Let’s hope the rest of us aren’t so hopelessly stupid.