The expression “a man’s home is his castle” is derived from an English homeowner’s right to defend his dwelling by any means necessary, including lethal force. That right disappeared from The Land of Hope and Glory some time ago. Fortunately, it lives on her in Her Majesty’s former colony where it’s known as the Castle Doctrine. Moving forward a few hundred years from the origins of English common law, stateside drone over-flights are testing the limits of property rights.
Absent any FAA guidelines on the subject, the legality of downing drones flying over your property depends on where you are. As we reported before, a New Jersey resident recently blasted a drone flying over the house he was building. Garden State authorities arrested him for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal mischief. Somehow I don’t think a Texas rancher would face the same penalties.
If a drone were flying over your property, would you shoot it? Don’t forget: many towns and cities prohibit discharging a firearm for anything other than self-defense purposes. One more thing, there’s now a non-ballistic solution to pesky drones (as above) — which also operates in a legal grey area. So, would you blast, hijack, or hang fire?