back to article Uncle Sam is asking Americans if they could refrain from slapping guns on their drones

If you were wondering whether your right to bear arms extends to the right to bear an armed drone, we have bad news. In an email broadcast to world+dog, the US Federal Aviation Authority has reminded Americans "that it is illegal to operate a drone with a dangerous weapon attached". "Perhaps you've seen online photos and …

  1. elDog Silver badge

    When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

    we've lost all sense of the humanity of killing.

    Oh, wait.

    Everyone, and I mean everyone, is doing this or planning to do so real soon now.

    Relationship not working out? Call 1-800-DRO-NHIM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

      "Relationship not working out? Call 1-800-DRO-NHIM." actually hits close to the target, just drop that "N" in the middle. A DRO is a Domestic Relationship Order, what the court grants your now ex-spouse that gives her/him half your stuff (depending on state, etc). You can figure out how I know this, and that I'll be working 'till I'm 85 to make up for it.

    2. mics39
      Black Helicopters

      Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

      USA is already the world leader in killing with drones.

      1. Imhotep

        Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

        Not within our borders, thank you.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

        USA is already the world leader in killing with drones.

        For some reason I'm thinking of Highland bagpipes.

        1. Spanners Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

          Highland bagpipes

          The only person I have seen come to harm from those were people who were just too English and took their use to be a sonic assault.

          1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

            Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

            Well, they used to be classified as weapons of war until 1996.

            1. Carma

              Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

              AKA -Agony Bags!

              1. Agincourt and Crecy!

                Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

                Macedonian Goat Bagpipes.

                https://images.app.goo.gl/21JA1H4tcTkLgPLA7

          2. Hans 1 Silver badge

            Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

            You should watch more 1970's French movies:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECHeB4QPbuo

            PS: Watch the movie!

            PPS: It more relevant today than it was in the 70's.

            PPPS: Far more so ...

        2. Benson's Cycle

          Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

          Lord Lovat landed on D-Day with his personal piper. Both survived. It's speculated that the opposition thought they were either mad or some kind of trap and left them alone. Or the noise disoriented them.

      3. macjules Silver badge

        Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

        Yeah, I just have to listen to one of Trump's disjointed drones and I'm already reaching for the mogadon overdose..

    3. scrubber

      Re: When someone gets the tech to operate killer drones from thousands of miles away

      That's what people thought about using long bows,

      And about people wearing camouflage.

      And about snipers.

      And about dropping bombs from planes.

      The history of war has always been about reducing your own side's risk and that normally means being unseen which normally means being farther away. While the other side (and some traditionalists) whine about how it is not sporting, or fair, or some other nonsense about the 'rules' of killing your fellow humans.

  2. Benson's Cycle

    But...but

    Surely the Second Amendment outweighs any rulings by the FAA? Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft? The Constitution doesn't even mention them. A bullet is a flying weapon. So is a drone.

    Bonfire of regulations. Now. You know it makes sense. And raise a militia or two to persuade the Greenlanderese that their future lies in being a cold Puerto Rico. Because MAGA, and nothing says MAGA like unrestricted access to flying weapons. And icebergs.

    Now just compress that into 280 characters and we're good to go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...but

      I seem to recall something about a well organised malilita. Are you part of one or do you just want a bang bang on your shiny shiny

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But...but

        Well-regulated does not mean "regulated by the state", but "well-supplied". The right of the people to bear arms is a necessary requirement of a functional citizen militia.

        When they wrote it, that's what it meant, and it is necessary to understand the contemporary meaning of the words in order to understand the application of the law now.

        "Shall not be infringed" still means the same thing

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But...but

          Downvote all you want, folks, it won't change the meaning of the words.

        2. joeW Silver badge

          Re: But...but

          Well that's handy. The bits that suit you still mean the same, the bit that don't are just misinterpreted.

          Reminds me of another old document that's still causing arguments.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: But...but

            Reminds me of another old document that's still causing arguments.

            The bible?

        3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: But...but

          But "militia" still means an organised armed force raised from the civilian population... so instead of buying guns and armed drones to keep yourself, you should be buying them for the National Guard?

        4. veti Silver badge

          Re: But...but

          "Shall not be infringed" applies to "keep and bear arms". Nowhere does it say anything about the right to attach said arms to an independent controlled vehicle.

          Unless you can define the drone itself as a weapon - and I think that may have implications that you wouldn't be entirely happy with.

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: But...but

            "Unless you can define the drone itself as a weapon"

            Well, I had a virtually uncontrollable Voyager drone that damn near took my bloody head off on several occasions, so I guess I'm up for that.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But...but

          You are correct in paragraphs one and three. Paragraph two proves you are just a progressive zealot or have bought into Al Gore's (Clinton, Obama, etc.) "living Constitution" BS.

          The "contemporary meaning" of any part of the Constitution is irrelevant. Using that process the Constitution could eventually mean anything. That's not the way this works. The Constitution is interpreted (Supposed to anyway. There's still Ginsberg and her cronies on the Supreme Court) by the meaning of what was written at the time. For that we must go back to the Federalist Papers and other writings by the Framers and understand how the language was written then. There's no argument here except from the progressive and radical left who are petrified of an armed citizenry.

          As for your being down-voted, it's coming from Constitutionalists and others that understand that the "living/breathing" "contemporary meaning" argument is nonsense or the radical progressives who don't like your pointing out that "well regulated" and "shall not be infringed" don't mean what they want them to mean.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But...but

            Contemporary means related to the same time period as the thing in question.

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: But...but

              Stupidly, in US English "contemporary" can mean both:

              Definition of contemporary

              1a : marked by characteristics of the present period : modern, current contemporary American literature contemporary standards

              b : simultaneous

              2 : happening, existing, living, or coming into being during the same period of time The book is based on contemporary accounts of the war.

              In proper English, definition 2 is more correct.

        6. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: But...but

          "Well-regulated does not mean "regulated by the state", but "well-supplied". Citation needed.

      2. Trollslayer Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: But...but

        That was actually about the National Guards to stop the new federal government taking control of states.

        Nothing to do with individuals but who cares?

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: But...but

          The Compact Clause disagrees with you as it seems to specifically prohibit States from forming their own "National Guards".

          No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

          Emphasis added to point out the relevant bit.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: But...but

            But which Congress, State or Federal.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But...but

            Not to mention that the National Guard can, with the stroke of a pen, be federalized and become part of the national military. If the Second Amendment was only about a "national guard" then the firearms under their control would, at the point of federalization, instantly come under control of the federal government.

            The Second Amendment does not _grant_ an individual the right to own firearms. It _prohibits_ federal and state governments from passing laws limiting or outlawing the private ownership of firearms. That's why the term "shall not be infringed" is used.

        2. Imhotep

          Re: But...but

          "That was actually about the National Guards to stop the new federal government taking control of states."

          There was no National Guard at that time. It would be safer to say it was added as a safeguard by people who were concerned they might need to protect themselves from or overthrow another government, and wanted to be sure they had the means to do so.

          Both sides of the argument were published and discussed widely at the time, and those writings are still easily available.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: But...but

            Both sides of the argument were published and discussed widely at the time, and those writings are still easily available.

            citation needed Mainly because being semi-retired, it can make for fascinating reading. Plus the joy of the Internet making knowledge ever more accessable. And so stumbling across curiousities like the Pig War of 1859. Bit of a potential causus pork belly that one.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: But...but

              Here ya go.

              The Federalist Papers

              https://www.congress.gov/resources/display/content/The+Federalist+Papers

    2. Synkronicity

      Re: But...but

      Though I agree with your sardonic sentiment, the Second Amendment does clearly state "regulated militia" so yes, the FAA could in fact ban these in the same way you can't own a nuclear bomb or automatic firearms made after 1986. So long as you don't ban all firearms in general or create regulations that essentially prevents individuals from owning firearms you're allowed to regulate to a largely undefined and mercurial extent (2008's DC vs. Heller) but IANAL.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: But...but

        Well, the Second Amendment doesn't say anything about militias not being allowed their own air force, or navy. The latter being something it could have excluded, given navies were a thing at the time. Could make for an interesting test case, but suspect some militia-like entities have already have a go at making armed 'crop' dusters.

        1. Death Boffin
          Mushroom

          Re: But...but

          The Second Amendment is not the place to look for this. In the main text of the Constitution, the Founders contemplated private armies and navies. Look up the sections on Letters of Marque and Reprisal and captures on land and sea.

          Indeed during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, wealthy individuals would supply their own units including artillery, the weapons of mass destruction of their day. Privateers were also sanctioned at times.

          1. Benson's Cycle

            Re: But...but

            It may at this point be worth observing that the FFs were influenced by Athenian "democracy". In that State, not only did citizen soldiers have to supply all their equipment including transport (which is why only a small percentage had the vote), but the triremes were supplied by rich citizens - it was a kind of progressive tax.

            If you supplied a trireme you were allowed to be captain but the State supplied an officer who (like the CIA man in The Wilt Alternative) was the real one in charge. Slaves who rowed really well in battle might gain freedom, but they would still be required to row in any future battles.

            The US of the late 1700s/first half of 1900s was really a large oligarchy like Athens at its peak, and the idea that the common people or slaves would "bear arms" except under the rule of the rich was laughable. Paul Revere, for instance, was very definitely upper middle class.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: But...but

              The US of the late 1700s/first half of 1900s was really a large oligarchy like Athens at its peak, and the idea that the common people or slaves would "bear arms" except under the rule of the rich was laughable. Paul Revere, for instance, was very definitely upper middle class.

              There was also the British tradition of regimental commands being sold to the highest bidder, ie buying commissions. Which also lead to some regiments being better equipped/supplied than others, if they were lucky enough to have a wealthy patron that invested in their troops.

              1. Benson's Cycle

                Re: But...but

                IIRC the only military organisations in which you couldn't simply buy a commission were the Artillery and the RE. Woolwich dates back to 1741. Formal officer training for other organisations didn't start till 1801, after the little incident in the Americas revealed weaknesses in the system and the rise of Napoleon and his disgusting, lower-class approach to military efficiency made the French a bit too formidable for people whose daddy thought a colonelcy would look nice.

              2. imanidiot Silver badge

                Re: But...but

                That's not exactly how it worked though: See this explanation

            2. General Purpose

              Re: But...but

              "...Athenian "democracy". In that State, not only did citizen soldiers have to supply all their equipment including transport (which is why only a small percentage had the vote)"

              Err, no. In classical Athens, all free Athenian male adults had the vote, regardless of whether they could afford weapons or armour. As for transport, most Athenian soldiers walked (as did Spartan, Theban, Corinthian, Argive etc etc soldiers).

              The idea that you have to have guns and automobiles to be a citizen is modern American.

              1. hplasm Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: But...but

                "The idea that you have to have guns and automobiles to be a citizen is modern American."

                Would you like to know more?

          2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: But...but

            The Second Amendment is not the place to look for this. In the main text of the Constitution, the Founders contemplated private armies and navies. Look up the sections on Letters of Marque and Reprisal and captures on land and sea.

            Yep. Lawful piracy! Bring back prize boards, and 'policing' the Gulf could could work out cheaper if one could take a fully laden supertanker as a prize. Not without political risk though..

            Indeed during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, wealthy individuals would supply their own units including artillery, the weapons of mass destruction of their day.

            Ah yes, the US Embargo Act of 1807. Kinda highlighted how embargos can backfire and in combination with privateers (and canny Canadian smugglers) can end up escalating the situation.. Culminating in that 1812 police action & a bit of a distraction from the usual British past-time of dealing with uppity Frenchies. And lead to Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture becoming a popular soundtrack for 4th July fireworks.. Which has a certain irony.

            I do like the idea behind the US Constitution though, ie it's pretty short, to the point and contemplates ways by which a new(ish) nation could defend itself against enemies, foreign and domestic. Plus the potential for 'well regulated' militias to remove any tyrannical governments, or just act as a handy recruitment pool against pesky foreigners. It didn't prevent the US Civil War though, but proposals to repeal the 2nd Amendment could potentially reduce the harm from any future North vs South (or just Blue vs Red) conflict. Always a risk when politics gets very bitter & divisive.

            Personally I think banning armed drones is a good thing, but won't stop assorted nutjobs (aka terrorists) from having a go. It's already happened in the Middle East around Syria & Israel, and 'peaceful protestors' have made noises about using them to shut down airports.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: But...but

      "Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?"

      If attached to a flying thingy then the flying thingy is bearing it, not you. Nothing in the 2nd that says remote controlled flying thingies have the right to bear arms. To "bear" something, you need to be carrying it. That's what bear means.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: But...but

        Can they get around that by mounting a Grizzly on the drone?

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: But...but

          Please stop! This kind of thinking could make Australia even more dangerous. Currently one just has to look out for trees containing drop bears... if they could drop from drones as well??? Nowhere would be safe.

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: But...but

        But you would be 'bearing' the controls of the weapon, surely?

    4. Sanguma

      Re: But...but

      Does Roe v. Wade cover the bearing of arms? And how long does it take to bear arms? 3 months? 6 months? 9 months? Inquiring minds wants to know!!!

  3. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Boffin

    Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

    The word "bear". The moment you're not touching the arm, you are not bearing it.

    (It might take a little bit of further thinking to see why that has to be be case. Start by imagining it wasn't, and work backwards)

    1. PeterKr

      Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

      So what you are saying is the 2nd amendment is only applicable if you are touching the weapon? I haven't heard that interpretation before.

      It also doesn't seem quite relevant, since a reasonable argument can be made that you are holding the control device for the drone, therefore bearing the drone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        Completely unrelated, but in my country of residence, we have three defined legal terms that apply and can be loosely translated as ownership, possession and "wearing" ("bearing" would be a more idiomatic translation)

        The way the "bearing" part is defined almost certainly excludes it being drone-borne (aside from that, it would fall afoul of our drone regulations just as in the US).

        Come to think of it, remote triggering is explicitly banned as well.

      2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        "Keep and bear arms." It's not so much about touching as transporting.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        "So what you are saying is the 2nd amendment is only applicable if you are touching the weapon? I haven't heard that interpretation before."

        Maybe not, but it's already being interpreted in many different ways to suit the arguments of whichever proponent happens to be speaking at the time. What's one more interpretation in the big argument? :-)

      4. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        Not quite, because if you were not allowed to store it, that would prevent you from "bearing" it when you wanted to.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

          Not quite, because if you were not allowed to store it, that would prevent you from "bearing" it when you wanted to.

          All part of the joys of law I guess. So UK law allowed me to 'bear' arms but mostly between home & authorised range, with security requirements for transportation in between. Which was occasionally frustrating, ie I had access to land where I could shoot a .308, but not a 9mm. Which I guess comes down to how much you trust your citizens to behave responsibility. Sticking a shotgun on a drone and plinking stuff on private land would be a lot less dangerous than operating one in downtown Detroit or Chicago.. But I guess it's easier to draft simple laws outlawing activities than attempting to carve out lawful exemptions.

          Which to me kinda sums up a lot of the 2nd Amendment debate.. Especially in a YouTube world where people may think more about the potential views/likes than their (or other people's) safety. Which in a Darwinian sense might be ok, would still result in a lot of paperwork for people investigating why trying to use an encyclopedia as body armour was a really bad idea. If nothing else, that diverts resources away from finding and stopping people who don't care about the legalities, but see the potential of making their own armed drones.

      5. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        >It also doesn't seem quite relevant, since a reasonable argument can be made that you are holding the control device for the drone, therefore bearing the drone.

        Its really about "how deep are your pockets?". You want to make that argument through the court system then its there for you (assuming that you have 'standing').

        It might be cheaper to 'buy' legislators.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Despite NRA propaganda

      The second amendment is not absolute. Even if this were seen as part of "bearing arms", the government still can enact reasonable restrictions on the right to bear arms. Just like they restrict "freedom of speech" as far as making it illegal to yell "fire!" in a crowded theater, for instance.

      Even the ACLU, which is basically to the first amendment what the NRA is the second, doesn't take the NRA's uncompromising "this right may not be infringed upon in even the slightest way...slippery slope...slippery slope!" stand and try to claim that people should have the right to yell "fire!" in a crowded theater. Or the modern equivalent, yelling "active shooter!" in a crowded Walmart.

      I support the second amendment, because I think an armed population is the final protection from falling victim to a dictatorship, but I don't support the NRA. Luckily due to their numerous scandals and financial difficulties, it looks like there's a chance they will soon collapse. Hopefully whatever replaces them isn't in the pocket of gun manufacturers, and doesn't take such extreme positions.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Despite NRA propaganda

        "I support the second amendment, because I think an armed population is the final protection from falling victim to a dictatorship, but I don't support the NRA."

        And yet it seems most dictatorships either have an armed population or grew in an armed population. The vast majority of countries with restrictions on the population owning firearms are not dictatorships.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Despite NRA propaganda

          Really? Russia has no right of personal ownership of firearms, nor does China, nor does North Korea. Don't know about Iran and Venezuela but I doubt it.

          1. james_smith

            Re: Despite NRA propaganda

            Wrong - Russia allows personal possession of firearms, both for hunting and self defense. And despite what you're told on Fox News, both Venezuela and Iran are democracies albeit with a politicised judiciary in the case of Iran. The last Venezuelab elections were declared free and fair by independent monitors, but the opposition chose to boycott them on the advice of the US.

      2. Robert 22

        Re: Despite NRA propaganda

        "I support the second amendment, because I think an armed population is the final protection from falling victim to a dictatorship"

        I keep seeing similar arguments. What I can't understand is how this works in practice. Does it mean that any group of people in the US has the right to overthrow the US government if they feel oppressed? It would seem that there must be many such groups. I would also suspect that the likely outcome would be a dictatorship.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Despite NRA propaganda

          I keep seeing similar arguments. What I can't understand is how this works in practice. Does it mean that any group of people in the US has the right to overthrow the US government if they feel oppressed? It would seem that there must be many such groups. I would also suspect that the likely outcome would be a dictatorship.

          Not necessarily, but it's sort of democratic. So there are groups that want to overthrow governments and some even enjoy quite a lot of public/media support, ie Antifa, or in the UK, 'Extinction Rebellion'. They want to replace the UK's system of government with a kakistocracy for example. In practice, all you need is a large enough mob so that governning/policing by consent becomes impossible.

          Having an armed populace may then make that more/less easy. The 'Colour' revolutions in former Soviet states demonstrated how that can happen relatively peacefully, or some of the 'Spring' revolutions, how violently. Or there's Ukraine. 'Peaceful' protests, someone starts shooting, crowd goes wild.. Then angry mobs storm police stations and military bases and became armed and angry mobs.. Much of which is simple crowd psychology.

          But that's also the balancing act for governments. Crack down on 'peaceful' protestors and it can end up boosting recruitment and incite those groups, the situation escalates and riots become revolutions.. Especially if there are people helping that along.

          But such is democracy. We already have the right to overthrow an oppressive government, it's just the approved method is via the ballot box, not the ammunition crate. Then there's history, ie the US was a new nation, and still pretty fragile. It sprang into existence as a protest against foreign rule, and relied on an armed populace to overthrow it's then government. The UK did much the same thing with a civil war leading to seperating powers between Crown, Church and State. But 'militias' have a long tradition, ie the practice of UK Lords having their own full-time troops, then raising their levys if/when the Crown called on them to go off for a spot of looting & pillaging.

        2. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: Despite NRA propaganda

          What I can't understand is how this works in practice.

          TBH, it cannot, the government has aircraft, drones, tanks, navy and a pretty well financed intelligence arm to deflect any attack.

          That argument is thus bogus.

          The ONLY argument for owning guns is the following: F*off, I like guns. - it is not the best argument ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Despite NRA propaganda

            Fuck off, I like guns.

            1. Is It Me Bronze badge

              Re: Despite NRA propaganda

              I had to like both this and the parent comment, as to me they are both accurate.

              In the UK it is very easy to get as many shotguns as you like, you apply for a Shotgun Certificate, the Police have to grant it unless there is a good reason not to, and they off you go.

              You do have to have secure storage for them, and they can only hold a maximum of 3 shells, but you can then go out and buy as many semi-auto or pump action shotguns as you can afford and securely store.

              If you want anything else it is a bit trickier as the Firearms Certificate process is more involved and you have to have "good reason" for each firearm/

    3. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

      I'm told that the oversupply of lawyers in the US (from the days when tuition fees started to rise and everybody thought going to law school was a no brain way of becoming rich) has led to lawyers who really will try that sort of argument in court.

      Believe me, it won't fly. You simply cannot take an isolated word and freight it with so much meaning. Think about it like this: are boomerangs illegal under the Second?

      (Personally and as you may guess from the post that started all this, I think the interpretation of the 2nd is ridiculous and is money-fuelled. But it is the thing as a whole, not individual words. Once you have National Guards, Sheriffs and deputies, and a standing army, the "militia" has pretty much been defined. A different Supreme Court might well have ruled that the right to "keep and bear arms" is collective, in the context of States Rights against the Federal Government. But it didn't, enjoy your toddlers shooting their idiot mothers who carry guns with no safeties in their purses to supermarkets.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        Doesn't say "the right of the militia to keep and bear arms", though. it says "the right of the people".

        1. Benson's Cycle

          Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

          Is "the people" a singular or plural reference, and are democratic institutions the expression of the will of, and the rights of, the people?

          As pointed out in my post, trying to make things turn on a single word doesn't really cut it. To quote that great Anglo-American T S Eliot:

          "Words strain, crack and sometimes break, under the burden, under the tension, slip, slide, perish, decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, will not stay still."

          The Second Amendment, as someone else has pointed out, has to be read in the context of things like letters of marque. You can operate a private warship - but only with the approval of the government. You could, for instance, argue that the people have the right to keep and bear arms but the selectmen of a village might collectively decide that the arms would be kept in a locked shed except for training and emergency purposes, because they - the people - have chosen to interpret their right this way. As it is, the right to keep and bear arms is constantly being infringed by policemen shooting people with guns. It is clearly not an absolute right to use them.

          An 18th century document treated as a religious text causes real world problems centuries later. Where have we heard that before?

      2. Sanguma

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        "I'm told that the oversupply of lawyers in the US (from the days when tuition fees started to rise and everybody thought going to law school was a no brain way of becoming rich) has led to lawyers who really will try that sort of argument in court."

        I finally get it!!! Thanks, from the very bottom of my pancreas (even deeper than the heart.)

        The right to bear and use arms is in order to cull the herds of lawyers!!! Otherwise - well, you know lawyers subsist on the arms and legs of victims - we would be faced with a world of armless, legless citizens.

    4. Nolveys Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

      The word "bear". The moment you're not touching the arm, you are not bearing it.

      I think bears are the wrong tools for the job anyway, the drones would have to be huge to carry them. Hanging angry badgers from drones with ropes would be more reasonable.

      1. Cederic Bronze badge

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        Isn't that against the Geneva Convention? Badgers are biological weapons by almost every measure.

    5. The_Idiot

      Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

      @JimmyPage

      "The moment you're not touching the arm, you are not bearing it."

      Hmmm. So it's therefore only legal to have guns if you're actually touching them! So storing them at home, under any conditions where you're not touching them, are illegal! And so are guns in holsters (you're touching the hostler if it's on your body, not the gun)! And gun racks on trucks! And...

      OK, OK. I know. Back to the drawing board - sigh :-).

    6. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

      I'd like to introduce you to my bear, Ben, his drone has the weapon on it...

    7. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

      The thing is you can legally transport arms in the trunk of your car, back seat, checked in luggage on an airplane where you clearly aren't touching it or even allowed to touch it like on an airplane. Then there is the patchwork of state laws regarding carrying vs bearing vs whoknowswhatelse as some states even allow towns to make their own rules creating a morass of legal foibles which are in theory dampened greatly by 18 U.S. Code § 926A but in practice is often legally expensive if local authorities have a hair across their butt.

    8. Dagg

      Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

      The word "bear". The moment you're not touching the arm, you are not bearing it.

      So if the gun is in the gun rack in the back window of your truck it is now illegal?

      I would love to see that one enforced in TX...

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

        That is no problem, it still is in your keeping, but not mounted to fire.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where in "keep and bear arms" does it say anything about them not being attached to an aircraft?

      "The word "bear". The moment you're not touching the arm, you are not bearing it."

      By the same token, the moment you aren't using ink and type, you aren't using a "press" anymore, nor is typing words on a keyboard "speech". But somehow, amazingly, we figured out what was meant.

  4. Oh Matron!

    Confused...

    "Operating a drone that has a DANGEROUS weapon attached"

    Is there any other type?

    1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

      Re: Confused...

      Drones alone are flying, sharp, and often heavy projectiles.

      The crazies have already been empowered.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Confused...

      "Operating a drone that has a DANGEROUS weapon attached"

      Is there any other type?

      It's always been a problem in law. Like 'dangerous driving'. Did I hit anything? If no, how was it dangerous? Rest is probably context.

      So a drone carrying a civil servant is probably less dangerous than an open bottle of FOOF in a Tesla. Attach a release mechanism and a guidance kit to said civil servant, and it could consitute a bit more danger to an innocent member of the public than said civil servant would be capable of if they were sitting behind their desk. I guess that would come down to which represents the greater threat, the civil-servant as a glide bomb, or one just doing it's job.

      This could also be an interesting test case and ruling..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Confused...

      > "Operating a drone that has a DANGEROUS weapon attached"

      > Is there any other type?

      Anything Italian, given their reliability?

      1. james_smith

        Re: Confused...

        Beretta called, they'd like a word about that urban myth.

    4. Spanners Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Confused...

      Is there any other type?

      How about attaching a couple of tasers? They are generally non-lethal or injurious.

      The "right to bear arms" surely means the type of arms available when that document was written - muskets, swords and knives. It cannot include baseball bats as they had mot been invented yet,

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: Confused...

        'types of arms available when the document was written' also includes cannons.

    5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: has a DANGEROUS weapon attached" Is there any other type?

      Did you see Arthur the Cat's earlier comment about bagpipes?

      (I learn something new from this site every day)

  5. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    "W. has slain his thousands, but Barry his tens of thousands."

    Use not the WEAPONS properly belonging to the LORD in vain, for the LORD OBAMA your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

    With Drones as if you hadn't guessed...

    .

    And now I'm off to a wedding.

  6. Dick

    Too late

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI--wFfipvA

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    If only the American forefathers knew about drones...

    I don't know about George Washington, but I can see Thomas Jefferson sitting back and going "Wot? Flying machines with weapons? Hell yeah!"

    And Benjamin Franklin would be off in the corner with a DJI and some duct tape...

    1. simonlb

      Re: If only the American forefathers knew about drones...

      Have you not been keeping up? Washington flew a fighter/bomber and Jefferson piloted a helicopter gunship during the civil war - they both got distinguished flying medals for the number of successful sorties completed.

      Now, if only someone would stop that horrible drone emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC...

  8. Maelstorm

    Well now...

    I live in the U.S.A. and I thought that arming planes and drones was already illegal before the 2018 law...with the exception of law enforcement, the National Guard, and the military. But this has been depicted in those procedural crime shows where an explosive device was strapped to a drone and used to assassinate someone. Not too far fetched.

    1. wayne 8 Bronze badge

      Re: Well now...

      Before 9/11, Civil Law Enforcement was denied armed helicopters, armed vehicles, etc. Since, IDK. We did not in the past send our local police to Israel for training in law enforcement measures, now we do.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Re: Well now...

        I think the concept that it was OK to shoot non-white people antedated sending police to Israel to learn to do it better.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well now...

      > But this has been depicted in those procedural crime shows where an explosive device was strapped to a drone and used to assassinate someone.

      Typical showbiz, adding explosives to anything for "dramatic" effect (it just looks silly, but hey).

      All you need is to fly your drone at high speed against your target, just as you would with a car. If you want to get really fancy, duct tape a couple bricks to it for increased mass.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Well now...

      But this has been depicted in those procedural crime shows where an explosive device was strapped to a drone and used to assassinate someone. Not too far fetched.

      Not far fetched at all. So this weekend, Israel attacked a site in Syria, where Iranians were allegedly about to launch 'killer drones'. And also flew drone bombs into Beirut, one of which apparently failed to detonate so acted as a bit of technology transfer. Much like Iranian claims of capturing US/Israeli drones. Then there was an ISIL attack on a Russian airbase in Syria using drones armed with mortar bombs.

      So it's a very real threat, and also an asymmetric one. So Israel has it's Iron Dome system to counter hostile missiles & drones, but means firing a 90kg, $50,000 missile at a <$5,000 drone. Plus risks of failed intercepts meaning the interceptor could end up doing more damage than the drone. For Israel, that's a little less risky given the launch trajectory is generally in the direction of the enemy. Gets a little more embarassing for say, Syria, which had one of it's interceptors fall on Cyprus. So nations are looking at alternatives like laser defences, eg Israel's Iron Beam.

  9. wayne 8 Bronze badge

    Has to be a joke or Florida Man.

    Strapping a shotgun to a drone? One shot and the drone will be falling out of the sky.

    The drone would require sufficient mass to counteract the equal and opposite reaction, which would require larger motors and battery packs. And have difficulty achieving flight.

    Maybe a .22 rimfire.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Has to be a joke or Florida Man.

      And ICBMs are also impossible because of the mass of armour they would need to counter the effects of the warhead they were delivering

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has to be a joke or Florida Man.

      Err... there was a video embedded in the article. Have you watched it?

      1. Cederic Bronze badge

        Re: Has to be a joke or Florida Man.

        No. I can't, because I'm a Liverpool fan.

  10. EastFinchleyite

    Dangerous

    "means any item that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury."

    One of my planes has a 14 inch prop running off a 75 size glow engine (12.3cc in metric). That is a real finger chopper. Does that count?

    And that is small fry. 22cc chain saw motors are cheap and very popular for larger models.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DEATH FROM ABOVE !!!

    It's the American way.

    1. earl grey Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: DEATH FROM ABOVE !!!

      Nuke it from space.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never been a big fan of the 2nd amendment, if everyone used it how would bears get their honey?

    1. Benson's Cycle

      It's a mis-spelling. It originally meant that American women could enter mosques, synagogues and Catholic churches wearing tank tops.

  13. Dr. G. Freeman

    So, if I read this right, can't arm bears ?

    Take it sharks with lasers is right out then ?

  14. arctic_haze Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The end of freedom?

    The Founding Fathers obviously had killer drones in mind when they wrote about "well organized militia" in the constitution. didn't they?

  15. devTrail

    Why so much talk?

    When you keep reading this kind of arguments and counter arguments the first obvious thing you can realise is that they don't want to solve the issue. It's not so complicated, even if you are holding the remote control you are not bearing any arm and a remote weapon obviously does not work for self defence. So if it isn't already forbidden it could be immediately regulated as are assault weapons. The government should have intervened immediately after the YouTube video claimed it is legal to install a flamethrower on a drone. If what they said in the video is true an executive order could have solved the issue without violating the constitution. If what they said in the video is false there is room to proceed for inciting to break the law.

    BTW all the stories about Amazon wildfires are a good reminder that there are far more ways to use the flamethrower on a drone illegally than legally. All the publicity that the media gave them is definitely questionable

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Why so much talk?

      It's not so complicated, even if you are holding the remote control you are not bearing any arm and a remote weapon obviously does not work for self defence.

      Well, it could-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQDy-5IQvuU

      But 500 round magazines are probably considered 'high capacity' and thus illegal in certain States. Challenge is legislation keeping up with technology. Automatic sentry guns already exist, and plenty of remote fired weapon mounts available. An armed drone could work fine for dealing with armed trespassers in Castle or 'stand your ground' states, and could be operated safely from the comfort of your panic room/bunker.

      So not necessarily any stranger than allowing citizens to own things like Barret .50s, which also aren't entirely practical for self-defence or hunting. I generally agree with the Second Amendment, but with caveats, ie some things are harder to justify in private ownership than others. So there's already exemptions/additional licensing for weapons like fully automatic & burst fire. Rest I think should be down to public safety and pragmatism.

      So don't try to ban things just because they look scarey, but perhaps licence things like .50s based on ability to shoot them safely. In the UK, some rifle clubs have .50s, but UK ranges are tightly regulated due to safety and ensuring there's an adequate backstop, and for things like .50 calibres, there's a large danger zone if a shot goes over the backstop for whatever reason.. Which is obviously risky in a densely populated place like the UK.

  16. A.P. Veening Silver badge

    FAA lost all authority anyway

    As far as I am concerned, the FAA can teach my granny to suck eggs, but otherwise it lost all authority with the bungled certification and delayed grounding of the B737 MAX.

  17. asciilifeform

    As I understand (IANAL!) these were already forbidden in USA by a 1990s-era ruling which banned all electrically-fired repeating arms (there was a crackpot company which offered paraplegics a tele-operated "safari" hunt.) They were deemed to be "fully automatic" on account of there being no mechanical barrier to issuing multiple shots per one software "trigger pull".

  18. JaitcH
    Alert

    Americans Are Free ...

    to make idiots of themselves.

    Coming soon drone hunting (of animals) and lightweight machine guns (for gatherings of humans). They already hunt animals from aircraft except they are banned in Canada.

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