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Can I shoot down a drone?

In short: not legally. Attempting to damage or destroy a drone is the same as attempting to damage or destroy manned aircraft. It is a felony and arguably also a federal criminal violation (18 USC 32).

You’re likely to be immediately arrested. If found guilty, you could be sentenced to jail for years or decades. You’ll lose your right to own or possess guns. We can also sue for all damages and legal costs.

In detail:

  • Drones are protected by the same exact laws all aircraft are. So, anyone shooting at a drone would be treated the same as if they shot at a real manned helicopter or airplane. The shooter could be arrested and charged with dozens of very serious crimes. A conviction of any one of these could result in a multiple decade prison term and permanent loss of your right to own or possess guns.
  • Property owners have very limited private airspace and for the same reasons they cannot prohibit manned airplanes and helicopters, they can’t prohibit drones. We won’t enter or fly within your private airspace. We’re always well above it, within the Public, National Airspace. Only the Federal government is able to place prohibitions, restrictions, or regulations on this airspace. Even if a drone should enter the private airspace, a landowner does not have any right to shoot at a drone and would still be subject to arrest, prosecution and civil liability.
  • If the shooter causes a loss of control and the drone crashes into a person or people, the shooter could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon or even more serious crimes. If anyone should die, the shooter could be charged with manslaughter or even possibly murder.
  • Anyone causing damages to a drone would also open themselves to very serious civil liabilities and penalties. Drone operators and anyone else with damages, can actively pursue these damages and all legal costs through civil courts.
The contents of this post are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. I am not a lawyer, so I do not give legal advice. If you should have any questions or want professional assurance that the information is appropriate to your situation please consult a licensed attorney.

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