Connecticut Bills Would Make Arming Drones A Felony

All because of one teenager who made a flamethrower drone

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”:

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.

Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Athertonis a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.