Charges Dropped Against Man Who Downed Drone

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“He had a right to shoot at this drone, and I’m gonna dismiss this charge.” With that, Judge Rebecca Ward gaveled the case against William Meredith to a close. Meredith’s the Kentucky man who shotgunned a drone out of the sky that he suspected was ogling his teenage daughter as she sunned herself. He faced charges of criminal mischief and wanton endangerment. “’The next time something like this happens, they’re gonna refer to it,’ Merideth said about future cases involving drones. ‘Now I don’t encourage people to just go out and start blasting stuff for no reason – but three times in one day, three times over the course of a year, six times total, over one property? That’s not right, that’s harassment.'” Justice served?

comments

      1. avatar Marc says:

        Damn straight.

    1. avatar Glenn says:

      I agree.
      But I still have a problem with shooting a
      shotgun in a neighborhood to bring down a drone.

      A shotgun n a Rural area, not such a big deal.

      I would much rather have an EMP rifle or some
      other Non-Kinetic Weapon.

      Literally Fry it in the Sky.

      But that is just me,
      I am a “Tech guy” that thinks a brand new
      iPhone is already obsolete when it come out the door.

      Firearms are a 500 to 600 year old Technology!

      Why can’t we have guns that keep up with
      the Capabilities of Modern Technology?

      1. avatar Five says:

        Does a rail-gun fall under the definition of a firearm yet?

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Does a rail-gun fall under the definition of a firearm yet?”

          Projectile? Check.

          Kinetic energy? Check.

          A means to aim it? Check.

          Looks good to me.

        2. avatar billy396 says:

          Geoff PR, Using your faulty logic a bow and arrow would qualify as a “firearm”.

        3. avatar Geoff PR says:

          You have a point, Billy.

          However, both are considered lethal weapons.

      2. avatar jwm says:

        Shotguns are cheap and readily available. A dispersed load of 6 shot dropping on a suburban neighberhood won’t do as much damage as a drone spiralling in.

        Either way, whoevers operating the drone should be liable for damages.

      3. avatar Sian says:

        Paintballs will bring down most quadrotors.

        1. avatar Joseph Yanos says:

          Hey, is it ok if I use one of those RPG-7 thingy’s ? Just asking… : )

        2. avatar Stuart K says:

          Paintballs are probably more dangerous than target load! (shot up in the air.. obviously)

      4. avatar Ethan says:

        I was unfortunate to end up walking out of the woods downrange from a group of guys shooting clay pigeons one time – just wrong place wrong time. Surprisingly, even though the bird shot was landing all around me and my brother, it didn’t even have enough energy to sting. It was like someone throwing rice at a wedding..

        Using birdshot, I’d say a shotgun is the safest possible firearm to use on an ariel target in a populated area.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I’ve been caught in lead showers a couple of times. Mostly back in my yoot when we hunted ducks and geese and lead was still used. Nobody I know ever suffered any injury from it.

        2. avatar Phil LA says:

          I’ve had bird shot fall on me from about 50-75 yds away. The angle was down from the sky and I’ll second the handful of rice feeling. No problem.

        3. avatar Mark Hagerman says:

          “aerial”

        4. avatar William Burke says:

          Yeah, I agree. It would be fun to try and take one down with a slingshot, however. One time I… never mind.

          I saw an ad the other day for a quadcopter that fits in the palm of a toddler’s hand. $39.99. You can throw it to start it. Anyone else see that?

          I don’t know of any camera it could carry though.

      5. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        Drone shooting rules should be the same as the trap range. 7 1/2 shot or smaller, but 3″ magnum loads allowed.

      6. avatar Model 31 says:

        EMP in a neighborhood?

      7. avatar %BJQ says:

        Here ya go:

      8. avatar Anonymoose says:

        Shotguns for anti-air use? No thanks. I’ll stick with ye olde 8.8cm!

        1. avatar Bud Harton says:

          Anonymouse

          Just had to find it for you:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bGczFQIOc

          It would say, “go away” with a certain flair

        2. avatar Anonymoose says:

          Thanks for that!

      9. avatar Cloudbuster says:

        The rifle range at the shooting range I go to is in the “reentry” zone for one of the sporting clays stations. Whenever someone is shooting at that station, you can hear the trap shot pattering down on the roof of the shooting bay (and your automobile, if you parked right next to the bay!). You can stand right out in the “lead rain.” It’s not dangerous.

      10. avatar nightstryke says:

        Careful Glenn you’re starting to sound like a gun grabbing liberal, remember to take your pills you’re going senile!

      11. avatar Fuck you says:

        Faggots like you are the reason why guns will be illegal

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Ain’t these kinds of comments banned here? Ad hominen and all that.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          It will disappear in 3, 2, 1, …

      12. avatar Sean says:

        Well Glen
        lease feel free to build a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range and bring firearms up to date and past the boring old chemical composition firearm design.You will bne a billionare overnight if you can.

      13. avatar Mister Fleas says:

        The downer of the drone was using birdshot, if I remember correctly.

      14. avatar KCG says:

        Because such devices do already violate a number of laws. At least with a shotgun you don’t generally have to worry about projectiles causing harm on the way back down as one would with larger caliber solid rounds. (unless you’re using slugs, obviously).

      15. avatar pete says:

        you don’t get out much do ya snowflake?

      16. avatar Brian says:

        Literally fry it in the sky? How dangerous would it be throwing all of that hot oil up there?

    2. avatar Question Authority says:

      Isn’t this setting the precedent of shooting down all drones? Including government drones?

      1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

        IMHO, no. The judge made reference to credible claims that the drone owner, through repeated behavior, was harassing the property owner and his family.

        1. avatar Joseph Yanos says:

          Well, your talking about the government… Right !!

    3. avatar Retired Para says:

      Agreed. Good ruling IMO.

    4. avatar Melody says:

      Amen to that

  1. avatar JohnO_inTX says:

    Right answer!!!

  2. avatar Dean Carpenter says:

    The bad thing about drones is they require regulation and you can bet the laws will be written so they could also apply to guns. The anti’s probably won’t make big inroads but they will continue to chip away at the 2A.

    1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

      Exactly! Drones/Model air craft both fall under the definition of Unmanned Aircraft System even tho they are models and have a carve-out to protect them against heavy regulation. The FAA has proposed that ALL UAS be registered (retro actively even, good luck with that), and are trying to implement this by Nov 20th.

      I dropped TTAG a line about this a week ago, Forbes has an excellent article on the new “drone” laws. I can only assume that there will be some federal over-reach, rights and existing laws will be trampled and everyone who does not own a R/C model that flies will not care, cause it does not affect them.

  3. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Heck, yes!

  4. avatar Jolly Roger Out says:

    Cue Kickstarters for automated air-defense turrets that accept all variety of semi-auto shotguns.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      Naw, the secret is directed energy weapons. Class IV laser to the camera will make them cry.

      1. avatar Fosi says:

        I’ve wondered about directed microwaves but it seems like it’d be tough to keep the energy focused enough to disable a drone at any distance.

        The laser is a good idea.

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          Best part is that you can make one from a cheap camera, two servos, and an old CD player.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      Not sure how much range they have, but I have seen garden-protection systems where there are high-pressure water jets at each corner that use motion detectors to target birds on the wing or four legged diners on the hoof.

  5. avatar Steven Roberts (SD) says:

    I was wondering the other day what the status on this case was and now I know. Thank the Lord he got a trial with a judge using common sense. We could use more like her.

  6. avatar bLoving says:

    PULL!!!

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “I am their sovereign! I LOVE Them. Pull! ”

      FIFY 🙂

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU6ebNd9v-w

      🙂

  7. avatar jwm says:

    Every sun worshipper in America needs to keep a shotgun close to hand.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      That’s just good sense, right there.

      And sunscreen.

    2. avatar pwrserge says:

      It’s ok, I’ve got enough body hair and scar tissue to make them seriously reconsider their life choices if they decide to peek in on my yard.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        No doubt you’d be a cult faverite on the dark web.

      2. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

        Internet Rule #34 applies. Never assume that no one wants to look.

      3. There’s probably a market for that.

    3. avatar Accur81 says:

      Are you getting ogled again?

      1. avatar jwm says:

        People don’t oogle me. They try to stick harpoons in me. Damn japanese fisherman.

        1. avatar Rambeast says:

          I thought I was the only one. I still can’t figure out how they managed to get away with mounting a harpoon to that pickup truck. >.>

  8. avatar tsn4 says:

    Excellent.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    Does this mean we can shoot down government/police drones that keep flying around in our backyard?

    1. Only in the presence of a near naked 13 year old girl.

  10. avatar DaveinLA says:

    Quick someone get this judge’s DNA and starting churning out clones. A judge with common sense? We need many more!

  11. avatar MikeP says:

    It’s OT, but I figured TTAG crew would find this interesting; a report on Czech TV that Austrians are tooling up, and have in fact cleaned out the inventory of firearms there. Austria is not as strict as typical European standards when it comes to firearms, and it appears Austrians are availing themselves of this distinction.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      TTAGers –

      That is worthwhile to watch all the way through…

  12. avatar Anonymous says:

    Ok. I sense a lot of drone hate here. Drones are our friends people. Just like guns, every American should have at least one drone.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Drone-American anti defamation league?

      #Dronelivesmatter.

    2. avatar Abram G says:

      I’d never considered buying a drone before; what does one use them for?

      1. avatar DrewR55 says:

        Keeping the squirrels off the bird feeder… With a pellet gun

        1. avatar Squirrels says:

          Squirrels have to eat too you know.

      2. avatar CarlosT says:

        #HomemadeHellfires?

  13. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    Damn Skippy, that’s justice. Hopefully the other guy will smarten up and drop this.

  14. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

    Forget the shotgun I want a stinger!

  15. avatar Ed says:

    Excuse me but what ever happened to identify your target and what is behind it. Shooting into the air in a built up area is never justified. You think his neighbors are feeling real safe with this court’s decision? Where’d all the rest of the shot land? Unless you can absolutely account for where your shot is landing, that was a negligent discharge. “I shot an arrow into the air, it came to earth I know not where.” Asswipe.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Chill Winston. You can always buy another drone.

      1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

        “chill winston” lock stock and 2 smoking barrels reference?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Yup. Love that movie. Snatch and Rock’nRolla and layer cake are good also.

    2. avatar actionphysicalman says:

      Bird shot doesn’t fall fast enough to hurt anyone.

    3. avatar Mr. Antisocial Guy says:

      Using a BB gun, or a paint ball gun, or even a high power air soft gun would work. So would a sling shot and a rock if you were proficient with one. I would prefer a pump BB gun myself. I’ve “loaded” them with four or five BBs at once and they spread out just like a miniature shotgun. Much quieter also!

    4. avatar Dan says:

      Your ignorant about ballistics. Falling shot comes down like freezing rain or small hail. Been ” hit ” with it many times in the field. Get an education before you post. Then you won’t be ignorant, but it may get you qualified for stupid.

    5. avatar Marc says:

      Read the posts above regarding birdshot falling out of the sky, asswipe.

  16. avatar M. Mitchell Marmel says:

    Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
    Where the deer and the antelope play,
    Where seldom is heard a remote controlled bird,
    And the skies are not buzzing all day.

    Drone? DRONE! I GOT RANGE! (SFX: Shotgun racked and fired)
    Where the pigeons ain’t made out of clay
    They think spying’s neat
    But I think they’re just skeet
    And the drones just keep dropping all day!

    Our place is discreet, and my gal thinks it’s neat,
    To go swimming without bathing suit,
    A drone tried to spy, but before it laid eye,
    I simply said “Ready! Aim! Shoot!”

    Drone? DRONE! I GOT RANGE! (SFX: Shotgun racked and fired)
    Where the pigeons ain’t made out of clay
    They think spying’s neat
    But I think they’re just skeet
    And the drones just keep dropping all day!

    Where the air is so pure, and the zephyrs so free,
    The breezes so balmy and light,
    A noodnik or three will fire up an R/C
    And go giving the neighbors a fright!

    Drone? DRONE! I GOT RANGE! (SFX: Shotgun racked and fired)
    Where the pigeons ain’t made out of clay
    They think spying’s neat
    But I think they’re just skeet
    And the drones just keep dropping all day!

    The Red man was pressed from this part of the west,
    He’s likely no more to return,
    But a buzzing drone pest is an unwelcome guest,
    How I love to smell batteries burn!

    Drone? DRONE! I GOT RANGE! (SFX: Shotgun racked and fired)
    Where the pigeons ain’t made out of clay
    They think spying’s neat
    But I think they’re just skeet
    And the drones just keep dropping all day!

    How often at night when the heavens are bright,
    With the light from the glittering stars,
    Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed,
    “Is that drone one of theirs or of ours?”

    Drone? DRONE! I GOT RANGE! (SFX: Shotgun racked and fired)
    Where the pigeons ain’t made out of clay
    They think spying’s neat
    But I think they’re just skeet
    And the drones just keep dropping all day!

    Oh, I love these wild flowers in this dear land of ours,
    The curlew I love to hear cry,
    And I love the white rocks and the antelope flocks,
    That graze on the mountain slopes high.

    But to those who would stoop, with technology snoop,
    And pester their neighbors all day,
    Grow up little boys, and find different toys,
    Or I’ll simply again have to say:

    Drone? DRONE! I GOT RANGE! (SFX: Shotgun racked and fired)
    Where the pigeons ain’t made out of clay
    They think spying’s neat
    But I think they’re just skeet
    And the drones just keep dropping all day!

    1. avatar M. Mitchell Marmel says:

      (c) 2015 M. Mitchell Marmel. All rights reserved. But if someone WANTS to record this… 😀

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        Send it to Ted Nugent.

    2. avatar Abram G says:

      My day has been improved. Thank you.

  17. avatar Ralph says:

    Good for Judge Ward and good for Papa Meredith. And to Peeping Tom Drone Pedophile Guy, all I have to say is if you want to spy on an underage girl, do it the old fashioned way. Sneak up to her window so her dad can shoot you in the face.

  18. avatar Steven Roberts (SD) says:

    M.M.Marmel, Springsteen got nuthin on you dude! Bravo with a standing O!

  19. avatar Hannibal says:

    I’m not sure about the legal reasoning- in fact I don’t see much of it on display- but I’m okay with the result.

    This looks like judge nullification!

  20. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    This is the one where the turd drone owners showed up and tried to start a fight with the homeowner right?

    Hope they get brought up on charges for creeping on the under age girl.

  21. avatar WhatAJoke says:

    I only wish the drone operator had been shot and it called self defense.

    1. avatar Rambeast says:

      Be careful wishing harm on another that has not made a credible threat to anyone’s life. It will come back to bite you later.

  22. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I’m cool with the ruling.I DO hope it sets a legal ruling. And I just saw a news story about a drone hitting a powerline and causing a large power outage. I also agree with birdshot being the load of choice. I think the shotgun is the lesser of 2 weevils…

  23. avatar Gerald says:

    Wow a judge with common sense and guts. Good for her!

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      This judge is very anti-authoritarian and has been in trouble in the past. I expect that she will be in trouble again because of this case and others.

      http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/crime/2014/05/14/bullitt-district-court-judge-suspended-without-pay/9098695/

      http://www.wave3.com/story/25530105/bullitt-county-judge-suspended

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        Looks like she was abusing her authority and doing some other naughty things that judges shouldn’t do.

        That doesn’t make her decision in this case any less valid. However, the fact that the shooter was being harassed doesn’t excuse the “wanton endangerment” charge. Either it was dangerous to be shooting a shotgun in that neighborhood, or not.

        I realize that she isn’t setting legal precedent here, but my concern is people hearing about this ruling and believing that it’s ok to shoot stuff out of the sky anytime, anywhere.

        1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

          Either it was dangerous to be shooting a shotgun in that neighborhood, or not.

          What if the shotgun had been shot at a home intruder?

          What if the shotgun had been shot at someone attempting to rape the teenage girl outside on the lawn?

        2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Self-defense is an entirely different scenario, Chip. You know that.

          I would love to be able to shoot down a drone if it was harassing me. I would also love to be able to shoot the rabbits in my back yard that are munching on my wife’s garden. If my neighbors were further away, I would. Basic concern for human life trumps my desire to use ballistic intervention to eliminate annoyances

        3. avatar Chip Bennett says:

          Self-defense is an entirely different scenario, Chip. You know that.

          You asserted that the propriety of discharging a firearm derived solely from the inherent effects/danger of the firearm. My point is that the propriety of discharging a firearm derives from the reason for discharging it. Every firearm discharge is violent; the question is whether that violence is justified or not.

          And it very well can be self-defense as the justification: anywhere from a violation of privacy, to a form of sexual harassment/assault.

        4. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          “You asserted that the propriety of discharging a firearm derived solely from the inherent effects/danger of the firearm.”

          Chip, I made no such assertion. I don’t know if this particular discharge was dangerous. I don’t know the neighborhood. I don’t know what direction he was pointing the shotgun. I don’t know if he was using #8 birdshot or 00 buckshot.

          In fact, I don’t know if the judge’s decision in this case was correct. I don’t know the facts or the details. I was merely pointing out that being harassed is not justification for endangering lives. Shoot down a peeping drone outside your window in a rural area with due regard to rule #4, fine by me. Shoot down a drone with neighbors 50 feet downrange, not so much.

        5. avatar Chip Bennett says:

          “You asserted that the propriety of discharging a firearm derived solely from the inherent effects/danger of the firearm.”

          Chip, I made no such assertion.

          With all due respect: yes you did. You said, “Either it was dangerous to be shooting a shotgun in that neighborhood, or not.” And here, you double down on that same point:

          I don’t know the neighborhood. I don’t know what direction he was pointing the shotgun. I don’t know if he was using #8 birdshot or 00 buckshot.

          You are deriving the propriety of discharging the shotgun based on the properties of the neighborhood, the shotgun, and its load – completely devoid of the context of the reason for the discharge. I don’t see any other way to interpret what you’re saying.

          Side note:

          I don’t know the facts or the details. I was merely pointing out that being harassed is not justification for endangering lives.

          Your latter point is true, from an academic standpoint. But with respect to the specifics of this case: how do you know that any lives were endangered?

        6. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Chip, let me clarify my original concern.
          Defendant was charged with “wanton endangerment,” among other things.
          Judge dismissed the case because she felt it was a clear case of harassment.

          I made the rhetorical statement, “Either it was dangerous to be shooting a shotgun in that neighborhood, or not.” Because the judge’s remarks (at least what has been published) didn’t answer that question, and did not convince me that defendant’s use of a firearm in this case did not pose a danger to the public.

          My contention is that being harassed is not justification for endangering lives.

          Perhaps there was other evidence presented at trial to refute the wanton endangerment charge. I don’t know. I only read a couple local news stories.

      2. avatar Dave says:

        Either way, Meredith won’t get a second trial, due to double jeopardy.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Depends on if that drone’s civil rights were violated.

      3. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        Curtis, your reply is inconsistent with your earlier remark:

        ” Either it was dangerous to be shooting a shotgun in that neighborhood, or not.’

        If it’s too dangerous to be shooting a shotgun in that neighborhood, then it is too dangerous to be doing so within any context.

        What you are claiming now is that you accept an exception to the “dangerous to be shooting” if the context is self defense.

        Okay, so who gets to decide what are the allowable exceptions? This is fundamentally what is wrong with a Statist, centralized “control” philosophy where allowable behaviors are decided by governing bodies.

        The question always comes down to “where is the line” and “who gets to decide where the line is?”

        Your “it’s either dangerous or it’s not” statement is an absolute that does not regard context. I think Chip was pointing out that if it’s not ‘too dangerous’ in one context (self defense), then ‘too dangerous’ has been negated. Therefore, it’s not ‘too dangerous’ in another context.

        So, one has to choose:

        (1) “Too dangerous or it’s not”

        or

        (2) Self defense is okay, but other situations, no.

        But not BOTH. Those two statements are mutually exclusive to each other, strictly speaking.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          Erg. Several times tonight, my replies have not gone where I thought they were going. Could well be my own fault, but…

          Anyway. That above was a response to this statement by Curtis in IL:

          “Self-defense is an entirely different scenario, Chip. You know that.”

        2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          JR, this isn’t that complicated.
          Many (most?) cities and villages have ordinances against discharging a firearm within city limits. Discharging a firearm to defend yourself from a credible, imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm is a legally justified reason to violate the aforementioned ordinance.

          Using a gun to defend yourself in a crowd is still dangerous, but it is legally justified.

        3. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “Many (most?) cities and villages have ordinances against discharging a firearm within city limits. “

          Irrelevant to the issue of “too dangerous or its not.” That’s just the city or village deciding what contexts are acceptable and what contexts are not.

          There’s a far bigger point being discussed here than if it is “illegal” to shoot a gun within city limits.

          It flies back to what I said earlier about “who gets to decide where the line of acceptable and not acceptable lies.”

          That’s the real issue…it underlines arguments of gun control and many other facets of everyday life. The problem is a bunch of self appointed Nannies that have passed those laws and ordinances.

          Why is it too dangerous to shoot within some arbitrary line of a map? If I set up a safe shooting area in a suburban back yard, that it is safe is the only criterion that should be met.

          So, again, your assertion “it’s either too dangerous or it’s not” and then making exceptions for self defense show the lie of ‘top down’ control of a community. It’s just that you are comfortable with the line that was chosen, so it’s okay for that control to exist.

          What happens when you don’t agree with where the line is? Too often, this leads to a whole lot of politicking in trying to position the line … back and forth fights and tons of money spent, etc.

          Few seem to go to the obvious answer: remove the line. Let responsible people lead responsible lives. When someone screws up, punish THAT person, not everyone else.

          I live in a relatively undeveloped area that is JUST inside the ‘city limits’ of my town. It would get illegal for me to shoot here, but I can cross the road and shoot there, provided I do it “Safely.” If you can’t see how arbitrary and inconsistent this whole premise is, there’s the reason we are in the boat we are in with NFA, GCA, UBC’s, AWB’s, etc, etc, etc. All the 2A related legal rangling of the last 150+ years is just panty twisting over where the various lines are drawn and who gets to draw them.

          When we allow the fight to be only about where the line is, we’ve already lost. RKBA is not a “right” at that point.

  24. avatar Matt says:

    The FAA are going to start requiring people to register their unmanned aerial vehicles (RC planes and helicopters included) because of clowns like this guy who missuse technology. Just another excuse for the government to restrict the individual right to property. Because I don’t own a shotgun yet, and firing a pistol into the air is a lot more dangerous than birdshot, I would have sent my daughter inside and followed the quadrocopter home. Once I have an address I can call the cops and make him the defendant.

  25. avatar James Lee says:

    Man i dunno what to say. I kinda feel happy about this ruling but it always bugs me if we could just dispose of others’ private property the way we see fit. This is harassment, but i wouldn’t shoot my neighbour’s security camera even if they intentionally face the lens to my bedroom. I’d just tell my daughter to stop sunning until the cops solves it.

    1. avatar Scott says:

      You would if he put the camera on your property to do it.

  26. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    It’s nice to know that common sense can still be found in the judiciary.

  27. avatar Dollup15 says:

    If anyone else is tempted to do this, just make sure that the drone is flying above your property when you fire. If the drone is not over your own property, I really doubt you have a right to shoot it. It would be like shooting your neighbor’s camera after he takes pictures from his side of the property line.

  28. avatar Siris says:

    Probably should be a case by case basis.
    “Droneing” hovering or orbiting over Teens suntanning in bikinis should be trespassing at min.
    Taking that one down is ok with me.
    Then busting the operator with attempted child porn would also be a good deterrent, when he shows up to get the pieces.
    Random hunting drones that are just flying for fun and happen to pass over someone’s house is a different critter. That’s not far from shooting the google street view cam off the car.
    Game cam hunting drone for example (it could happen)

    I don’t know why we haven’t heard of the cops using them for video evidence of drug deals, or flir cams for manhunts, finding pot fields etc. A lot cheaper than tax dollars for choppers.

    I can’t wait to hear about drone on drone dogfights.

    I wonder if a 14 year old hacker could modify a ham radio signal or something similar to hijack or break the operators signal?
    EMP I don’t think could be directed and likely would knock out everything in the area that’s not caged..
    It would suck to try an EMP and fry every car in the neighborhood. Or knock out a substation and wind up on a terrorist list. Heheh.

    1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

      it would be easier to have a “cheap” attack drone. Just fly into the blades, your airframe will snap the props and down it goes. Good FPV drones with cameras are multi-thousand dollar investments, you could take one down with a $100 simple quad rotor.

    2. avatar Tim says:

      The cops *do* use drones. I work in an FAA air traffic control tower, and the local sheriffs’ departments notify us when they will be conducting drone operations in or near controlled airspace.

      Also, “attempted child porn”? That’s pretty far-fetched seeing as there was no pornography involved. Simply viewing or recording another person does not create pornography.

      “Random hunting drones that are just flying for fun and happen to pass over someone’s house is a different critter.”
      How can you tell whether or not the drone was taking pictures of you or taking a picture encompassing the whole neighborhood? Oh, I guess you should shoot first and ask questions later, right?

  29. avatar Bobiojimbo says:

    Just read the first article from August. If 4 guys indeed rolled up to his house, and were looking for trouble, and threatening a fight – that sounds like they were doing something less than legal with that drone.

  30. avatar Clark says:

    Good, now this judge has set precedent for someone shooting at the next plane that just happens to fly overhead. I can’t wait to have them, AND this moron judge hauled before a real court when that happens and both locked a way for a very long time.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “this moron judge hauled before a real court”

      Another drone pilot shows up to comment…

      Thanks for the laugh. It’s nice to see that Civics Education money was well spent. You know, because judges get hauled into court all the time for rulings they make, rather than just getting overturned on Appeal if they are wrong.

      1. avatar Clark says:

        Hah! No, sorry, not a drone owner, just an American who cares about more than just himself. What would have happened if he had shot at a car in his driveway with someone taking pictures? Even if someone else’s property is on your own, you do not have the right to destroy it, and the drone wasn’t even on his property.

  31. avatar JohnF says:

    Like it or not, it is the law: You do not own the airspace over your property, the federal government does, administered by the FAA. Also, it is illegal to shoot at an aircraft, manned or not. You can’t legally shoot at a helicopter over your house, or a balloon, and you can’t legally shoot at a drone. Especially once certain classes of drones become FAA registered, a person could get into real federal trouble for shooting at one. It would be no different than shooting at a Cessna.

    When I was flying A-6s in the Navy, we did FCLP (field carrier landing practice) in a rural area outside of Virginia Beach. We got shot at by people who thought we made too much noise. They thought it was their right if we were over their property. They were wrong. Fortunately nobody got hurt and no aircraft ever got seriously damaged, but NIS (the precursor to NCIS), was all over that and I’m pretty sure some of those people did some hard time in federal prison.

    I like my privacy too, but it would not be worth it for me. If I was being harassed by a drone, I would report it to the local police and the FAA.

    1. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

      JohnF wrote on October 27, 2015 at 15:54 hours:

      “Like it or not, it is the law: You do not own the airspace over your property, the federal government does, administered by the FAA.”

      FALSE!

      The property owner owns the airspace over his/her own property up to 500 feet AGL.

      How much of the airspace above your home do you own?
      July 11 2013 3:41 PM
      […]
      In 1946 the Supreme Court acknowledged that the air had become a “public highway,” but a landowner still had dominion over “at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land.” In that case the court held that a plane flying just 83 feet in the air—the commotion was literally scaring the plaintiff’s chickens to death—represented an invasion of property. The justices declined to precisely define the height at which ownership rights end. Today, the federal government considers the area above 500 feet to be navigable airspace in uncongested areas. While the Supreme Court hasn’t explicitly accepted that as the upper limit of property ownership, it’s a useful guideline in trespass cases. Therefore, unless you own some very tall buildings, your private airspace probably ends somewhere between 80 and 500 feet above the ground.
      […]
      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/07/photographer_george_steinmetz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html

      1. avatar JohnF says:

        Sorry, your analysis is “False.” 500 feet is the beginning of navigable airspace, excluding take offs and landings. It has nothing to do with what a property owner has control of. You did make one correct statement, “at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land” So we are talking about the height of the structures on the land, with a reasonable buffer. Keep in mind that private UAVs are required by the FAA to fly under 400 feet, so they cannot be in navigable airspace. Also, even if they are in your private airspace, it does not mean you can shoot at them, anymore than you can shoot at a strange car in your driveway.

    2. avatar Dydimus says:

      Just remember when you call the police to also call the fire department and the pizza delivery. That way you can eat your pizza while you’re waiting for the police to show up.

  32. avatar Anner says:

    Hell yeah! Common sense from the bench!

  33. avatar jlp says:

    Drones are not aircraft in any sense of the word. When they harass people on their own property there should be no closed season and no bag limits. This is the only way the irresponsible people who own drones and do this will learn that their expensive machines will be toast when they harass people. Of course maybe technology will come to the rescue (which I understand is already here) which allows people to scramble their signals forcing them to land or crash. Then their registered FCC number could be written down and charges could be leveled against the owner of the drone.

    1. avatar JohnF says:

      “Drones are not aircraft in any sense of the word. ”

      Not true. FAA regs define all remote control flying machines as “model aircraft” and most dictionary definitions define “aircraft” as some version of “a machine that flies through the air.”

  34. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Reckless lunatic who should have called the police (just to document it, I know they’ll justify their laziness by claiming it’s a civil matter), then filed an HOA complaint and/or a lawsuit.

    Jackwagon is extremely lucky nobody got hurt as a result of his little over protective tantrum, or he’d be in prison where he belongs, and no hick judge could save him.

    What’s next? He treks to California and sets off a car bomb at the Google Earth Car garage? Good grief. (or at their tower recieving satellite signals, for those of you whose big rebuttal was that they were in his backyard.)

  35. avatar Dave says:

    If it was flying low enough to be shot down with a shotgun, it definitely constitutes harassment. Average spread for birdshot is roughly 1 inch per yard, unless the shotgun has a choke. Even a full choke has pretty significant spread by about 20 yards or so.

  36. avatar CV76 says:

    The quadcopter produces copious log files. This case had all of the evidence it needed to exonerate the pilot. The public is hallucinating over mis-reporting of drone spying and crashing civilian aircraft, all of which is pure BS. First a crash between a quadcopter and aircraft has never been recorded. Second, you cannot spy with these unless the persons involved are either deaf or deaf.

    Quads are very loud, cannot zoom and cannot see through glass windows with their super magical X-ray vision so all of you trolls talking out your tailpipes need to get edumacated on this subject like you purport to do with firearms.

    CV76 Out.

  37. avatar Coffee Addict says:

    All I can think of is a market for anti-drone weapons. Net throwing shoulder mount air canon, or maybe a paint ball blunderbuss. a 5W blue wicked laser should ignite the thing midair..

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “a 5W blue wicked laser should ignite the thing midair..”

      Highly doubtful.

      You have to keep the beam spot stable on one place long enough to melt the plastic.

      Hand-held, the beam will ‘dance’ all over the surface…

  38. avatar CCDWGuy says:

    I very seldom totally disagree with posts and or comments but this is one that deserves another response. I own and shoot regularly and carry every day. I also do a lot of photography and own a drone. I also live in Kentucky where this activity took place. Two days after the event the people who owned the drone went on local TV with the data from their drone showing they were photographing real estate. Did they fly over this guys property, it’s possible, their data indicated that the drone was at 200 ft. and did not cross the property line.
    There are already laws on the books to take care of this without shooting the photographer or the drone. I have a 500mm lens and could do the same thing and no one would have a clue but the legality of it is that you are not allowed to photograph with a camera or a drone people who are in a place where they have an expectation of privacy. You can be sued for that.
    It is still unacceptable to me that the guy shot down the drone, he should have called the cops if he had an issue. Yes, the drone owners approached his property to recover the drone and he was armed and said if they came on his property he would stop them. To the best of my knowledge they were not armed and posed no threat and had he taken action he would most likely be in jail instead of this idiot judge letting him off for discharging a weapon destroying someone’s property. Maybe the drone owners should have gone and talked to the guy before they did the real estate video which is what I would have done.
    If you all think registering drones is just the right thing to do, I’d think twice about that as you are justifying registering a device that has a very low possibility of killing anyone. Also, the FAA is trying to register through drone manufacturers. Bad idea, I can buy individual parts and there are build meetups every month to construct your own drone….guess that’s like a 80% lower and there is no way most drone owners are going to retroactively register their drones…even though there is no 2nd amendment for drone ownership.
    Hobby RC aircraft owners have been around forever and no one has had a problem until you put a camera on it.

    1. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      “Did they fly over this guys property, it’s possible, their data indicated that the drone was at 200 ft. and did not cross the property line.”

      If it was flying so high then how did Meredith shoot it down with birdshot? The owner of the drone was lying through his teeth.

      “…they saw what happened, including the neighbors that were sitting in their patio when he flew down low enough to see under the patio.”
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3181965/Man-shot-drone-hovering-house-arrested-charged-criminal-mischief.html

      “But Judge Rebecca Ward says that since at least two witnesses could see the drone below the tree line, it was an invasion of privacy.”
      http://www.wdrb.com/story/30354128/judge-dismisses-charges-for-man-who-shot-down-drone

  39. avatar Fred Frendly says:

    Drones dont kill people, people kill drones.

  40. avatar model12. says:

    All the crap he had to go through to be found innocent. Way to go Judge! Hope she presides over the lawsuit.

  41. avatar Warlocc says:

    While it may be justified in this case, considering the daughter, I’m worried about the precedent it sets.

    As a drone and RC collector, do I now have to worry about shots coming in my direction when I fly around my neighborhood, or walk to the park with my drone following me?

    Further, the government is talking about forcing blanket drone registration thanks to incidents like this. Change one word in that sentence, and everyone at TTAG would be absolutely apeshit.

    Whether or not this is a good or bad ruling, this is just a bad situation.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “As a drone and RC collector, do I now have to worry about shots coming in my direction when I fly around my neighborhood, or walk to the park with my drone following me?”

      I’d say probably not.

      Don’t fly over other people’s property and snoop on them in places a reasonable person would have an expectation to privacy and where’s the problem?

      Folks are not saying RC aircraft themselves are the problem. We are saying how they are being used by some owners is the problem. The best analogy to gun rights would be to compare to people that play with their firearms in public…unholster and show off and that sort of thing.

      It’s irresponsible behavior that is the problem, not guns or RC aircraft.

  42. avatar William Burke says:

    Yes! I’m gonna go chug a beer. Back soon.

  43. avatar borg says:

    He defended himself from a crime in progress by shooting the drone.

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