Skip to main content

Colorado town's vote on drone ordinance postponed

By Ana Cabrera, CNN
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Vote is on hold while a court determines the ordinance's legality, mayor says
  • The ordinance would allow Deer Trail residents to hunt for federal drones
  • The response to the measure is mixed
  • "Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability," says the FAA

Deer Trail, Colorado (CNN) -- Phillip Steel, a resident of Deer Trail, Colorado, is ready to fight for the Old West values he feels are being threatened by drones.

Asked what exactly he's proposing to do when he sees an unmanned aircraft, Steel points his weapon to the sky.

"I am proposing to shoot it down," he said.

Deer Trail -- population 598 -- was scheduled to vote Tuesday on a measure that would allow its residents to hunt for federal drones and shoot them down, but Mayor Frank Fields said Tuesday that the vote has been postponed while a district court decides whether the ordinance is legal.

The vote probably won't happen until next year, the mayor said.

Shooting down drones: a town votes
Schiff: 'Grave concern' on drones
The lighter side of drones
What's next for Amazon drones?

Steel said he wrote the ordinance after he learned the Federal Aviation Administration "loosened regulations that would allow the flight of drones in domestic airspace."

The FAA recently announced plans to create six drone test sites around the country, none of which has been publicly listed. It plans to allow widespread use of domestic drones in 2015.

U.S. launches drone from submerged submarine

"The overall purpose of this test site program is to develop a body of data and operational experiences to inform integration and the safe operation of these aircraft in the National Airspace System," the agency said.

Drones are cheaper to operate than helicopters. They can be used for multiple tasks, such as monitoring crops and livestock and assessing building damage.

It's not drones, per se, Steel says he is against. He recognizes they can be helpful in some situations, such as a search and rescue effort, but believes they don't belong in his backyard.

15 ways drones will change your life

"What has me fired up is it's trespassing," he said. "It doesn't belong there. Yes, it's privacy. But that's only one part of it. Who's going to be flying these drones?"

The ordinance specifies the kinds of weapons and ammunition residents could use and puts a bounty on recovered parts -- $25 for the fuselage or wing, $100 for a whole drone that has U.S. government markings.

The idea has found some support in Deer Trail, which takes up less than one square mile and is about 50 miles outside Aurora.

"I would shoot a drone down if it's peering in my window, scanning me, and it's within elevation where I can nail it," said Robert Copely, a resident.

2 injured when drone malfunctions, crashes into Navy ship

But not everyone in town is in favor.

"That's a federal offense to destroy government property, and on top of that it's a ridiculous thing and embarrassing the town," said Daniel Domanoski.

In fact, the FAA is keeping a close watch on Deer Trail's special election. It issued a statement that sounded like a warning.

"Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane," it read.

Steel says he won't be deterred from shooting at drones.

But he hopes the ordinance, if passed, would encourage them to steer clear of his town.

"There are many things that are illegal, but the United States federal government declared war on us. This is our response," he said.

Amazon's drone delivery: How would it work?

CNN's Natalia Perez-Segnini contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
This ocean drone can survive typhoons and collect data from the center of the storm.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Forget selfies. Those are so 2013.
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Beyond military surveillance and warfare, drones have proven themselves useful in a number of ways.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 2109 GMT (0509 HKT)
It's almost entirely illegal to use drones for money-making purposes in the United States. But a little Hollywood magic could change that.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1933 GMT (0333 HKT)
A bird's eye camera sweeps over the green fields of Ireland, flies over the towering Cliffs of Moher and pans the ocean hundreds of feet below.
January 24, 2014 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
Marque Cornblatt's interest in drones began with a bit of playful drone-on-drone violence.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 2257 GMT (0657 HKT)
drones amazon
Imaginations everywhere have been stoked since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced his company plans to start offering 30-minute deliveries via drone-like "octocopters."
February 3, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
Ice fishers in Minnesota are reeling from a recent FAA decision prohibiting beer delivery by drone.
May 14, 2014 -- Updated 0056 GMT (0856 HKT)
Drones are everywhere. They are our present and our future, especially concerning warfare, Peter Bergen writes.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1325 GMT (2125 HKT)
Two thirds of the world population does not have Internet access. Before Facebook can sign up the rest of world it needs to get them online.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Apart from what they do for the military; drones have already proven themselves capable sheep herders, delivery boys, tour guides, filmmakers, archaeologists, and -- possibly -- spies.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
The evolution of drones continues.
November 20, 2013 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
Flying robot Skycall guides a student around MIT.
It's your first day at university and you've got 15 minutes to get to room 9-209. Easy, right?
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Deer Trail, a small Colorado town, is considering a measure that would allow its residents to hunt for federal drones and shoot them down.
November 12, 2013 -- Updated 2024 GMT (0424 HKT)
The Federal Aviation Administration's "Road Map" to integrate drones into civilian airspace by 2015 has provoked strong reactions from privacy advocates.
November 6, 2013 -- Updated 1939 GMT (0339 HKT)
"Live every week like it's Shark Week." Those immortal words come not from the Discovery Channel's marketing department but from Tracy Morgan on "30 Rock."
August 6, 2013 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
Click through our gallery to learn more about the varied appearances of drones.
May 23, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
Catch up on everything you need to know about drones.
July 12, 2012 -- Updated 1220 GMT (2020 HKT)
Drone sixton-a
Drones are currently a growth industry in the aviation sector, with scores of new companies competing for a slice of the market.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
Here are some key facts about the U.S. drone program, including how and when they are used, and where.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
The use of drones to carry out military strikes is controversial, to say the least.
ADVERTISEMENT