Connecticut Bills Would Make Arming Drones A Felony

All because of one teenager who made a flamethrower drone

Drone With A Flamethrower

Drone With A Flamethrower

This is a drone with a flamethrower.Screenshot by author, from YouTube

Last summer, Connecticut teenager Austin Haughwout made headlines with a creative little craft project: He attached a gun to a drone. In December, Haughwout released a video of a hobby kit built drone carrying a flamethrower and roasting a turkey. Flamethrowers, it turns out, are weirdly legal in most states. Because he flew on private property, nothing Haughwout did was explicitly illegal. A pair of new bills before the Connecticut legislature aim to change that.

As written, both bills would make both of Haughwout's armed drone uses illegal. here's the text, as it appears identically in Raised Bill 148 "An Act Concerning The Weaponization Of Drones Based On A Program Review And Investigations Committee Study" and raised Bill 5274, "An Act Concerning The Use Of Drones":

Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall operate or use any computer software or other technology, including, but not limited to, an unmanned aerial vehicle, as defined in subdivision (29) of section 15-34 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, that allows a person, when not physically present, to release tear gas or any like or similar deleterious agent or to remotely control a deadly weapon, as defined in section 53a-3 of the general statutes, or an explosive or incendiary device, as defined in section 53-206b of the general statutes.

Raised Bill 148 is currently being considered by the Program Review & Investigations Committee, and is sponsored by committee co-chair Rep. Christie Carpino. The other bill, Raised Bill 5274, sits before the Public Safety Committee. If either pass into law, using a weapon attached to a drone will become a felony.