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Right to Keep and Bear Drones?

A discussion in U.S. News and World Report. It’s an interesting question. If an arm is protected by the Second Amendment, how much does it matter how you bear it? But it also raises a question of how useful a drone is for self-defense. If the drone is bearing the arm, how is whatever you’re targeting a threat to you? But if your government decided to start stuffing people into cattle cars, I can imagine and armed drone would be damned useful.

I would be quite surprised to see the courts adopt a Second Amendment rationale for drones, but to be honest, I’m not sure how much it matters. If you can play with drones, and play with guns, putting guns on drones if the shit hits the fan isn’t much of a stretch. I’m not sure arming drones with firearms is even really the best use of them, even in a dire situation, like a government stuffing citizens into cattle cars.

19 Responses to “Right to Keep and Bear Drones?”

  1. HappyWarrior6 says:

    Mount a double barreled shotgun on it and it will win accolades from just about anyone.

  2. ern says:

    Technology is making some of these concepts difficult. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to read into the word “bear” a kind of physical reality–carrying a weapon. If the drone is bearing arms, then *you* aren’t. Does the Constitution protect things bearing arms in your name? I’m not sure.

    I’ve never particularly thought about this issue, though, so I’m open to hearing what people have to say. But my first instinct is to think that drones might be a bridge too far. “Bearing” arms should probably only extend to arms that are directly under your control. And yes, I understand that drones might be sort-of under your control … yeah. I need to think about this a bit.

    • Sebastian says:

      What if you were disabled and you had a robot to protect you?

      • ern says:

        That’s what I mean–I never would have thought about that. We’re way out beyond normal interpretations of the Constitution. In a broad context of self-defense, I imagine you could make that sort of argument. But if the weapon is not under your direct control … I still don’t know.

    • Jake says:

      Also consider the fact that when the Constitution was written, private ownership of fully-armed warships was nothing unusual. I think drones would be somewhat similar.

  3. PT says:

    “But if your government decided to start stuffing people into cattle cars, I can imagine and armed drone would be damned useful.”

    If that happened the legalities of armed drones would be quite irrelevant.

    • ern says:

      If the government was stuffing people into cattle carts, I imagine most of us would be going Wolverines on them, and forget the law. I’m not sure in that situation drones would be completely useless, though.

      • ursa ele says:

        Where does the Federal government’s power come from? The United States Constitution? The power of the Federal government, by which I mean the ability of the Federal government to matter to the average citizen, comes from two phenomena: 1. They are everywhere and involved in everything (e.g., milk pricing control, environmental policies, licensing power plants, social security, etc — they’re everywhere), and 2. By far, the vast majority of citizens cooperate fully with the Federal government, every day and in every way. Those two phenomena account for the POWER of the Federal government.

        It is tempting and self-deluding to think that what is special about America is that if the government gets out of bounds and tramples on the freedom of the American people, we’ll all grab our AR’s, band together, and take the fight to the streets. But would that really happen? Well, did it happen when the government incarcerated Americans of Japanese ancestry during WW2? No, the American people turned away, ignored it, and pretended it was not happening, or worse, they applauded “the common sense measures taken to assure our National Security and they told each other that these measures benefited the Japanese-descendent Americans more than they hurt them since no one would suspect them of doing anything wrong as long as they stayed in their re-education, I mean internment, camps. No, no one did jack shit to stop the Federal government from incarcerating their fellow American citizens. Did anyone grab their model 94 and head to the streets to fight the government to preserve liberty? Nope. Not a single American did that.

        But that war era provides other lessons, too. From what I was taught in school, and what many Americans are taught, one can easily conclude that a bare handful of Nazi’s seized power in Germany while the populace was not paying enough attention, and then when they had secured their hold on power, the Nazi’s announced that, oh by the way, they were out to kill all the Jews and the then-powerless German people just kind of did not know what to do. The reality is far different from the myth and therein lies the lesson I’m trying to convey: The Nazi’s got into power by winning elections. They were voted in. They had a democracy in Germany and the voters voted for the Nazi’s. They got into power through the ballot box, not through the rifle sights. Germany at the time was the most culturally and academically advanced society on the planet (you know, kind of like we are today). Despite that, they elected the Nazi’s into power. The cattle cars came next. So, my point is: Don’t for a moment think it can’t happen here. It damn well can and maybe just will happen here. And if it does, the “Federal government” will be something that none of us recognize, compared to our recent historical norms, but it will be “Constitutional” nonetheless.

        Think about that. How many of you who disagree with me about the stuff I post here will come to MY defense? None of you will, because, well, you disagree with me profusely about so much stuff. So, the real questions are: What will I do to help YOU, and who will you come out to help? The relatively recent conflict in the former Yugoslavia shows what might happen here: No one helps anyone, because they don’t actually like anyone. Think about that. Life, it turns out, is not really Red Dawn. It is Bosnia.

        • Zermoid says:

          We also rounded up Chinese, Italians, Germans and I believe a few other ethnicities in WW2, not just Japanese.

          And yea, no body really cared……

  4. Whetherman says:

    “I’m not sure arming drones with firearms is even really the best use of them.”

    The guns or the drones?

    I would be thinking in terms of words starting with “I”, “E”, and “D”.

    My own fantasies have led me to think about flying machines like I used to play with in my teens, guided by a GPS system analogous to what you can buy to steer boats with. And the propulsion systems today are so much better.

    You’d just need to add a third dimension to the navigation concept. And use it before they jammed the satellites.

    • Zermoid says:

      A remote control aircraft, with a remote video camera and suitable explosive payload would be a handy alternative to guided munitions for a govt or individual, and alot cheaper than autonomous GPS guided munitions I would think.

  5. Bubblehead Les says:

    Sigh! Ursa, let’s look at the Facts. One, the Attack on Pearl Harbor was CAUSED by the Japanese. In an Era where if you were NOT a White Male of European Decent, you were a Second-Class Citizen. Female, Black, Latino, Native American, they were ALL on the Bottom Rung. So the U.S. Government decided to Trash the Constitution, and that Great Hero of Liberal Democrats, Franklin Deleno Roosevelt signed off on it.

    But that was then, and this is now. So tell me this: How many Internment Camps were set up for all the Arab-Americans after 9/11? Even Gitmo is down to a couple of hundred, and half of those people are really too dangerous to let out, and the other half can’t be deported because their own country won’t take them back in. So what happened to the million or so Arab-Americans who live in Michigan? Don’t see them living in a Hell-Hole (unless you count Detroit).

    But you are correct. There won’t be a Red Dawn. Because that scenario was a FOREIGN INVASION of the U.S., not an Attempted Government Takeover.

    And I have my Doubts that the Feds could take over a Chucky Cheese Birthday Party. Why? Because there comes a time when the “Theorists in Charge” HAVE to put Boots on the Ground, and they don’t have enough Boots.

    Oh, and since my Family comes from that neck of the Woods, the “Former Yugoslavia” was an Artificial Construct put together after WW2 and run by the Guy with the Most Guns, Tito. And all that happened was when he kicked the Bucket and there was no Soviet Union to back him up, the place went back to what it’s been doing for 600 years: A bunch of little nations who haven’t got along with each other since the Mongols left.

    And even then, it seems mostly quiet over there now.

    So be careful of your Historical Examples. Make sure they fit.

    • Bryan S. says:

      Did you watch the aftermath of the Boston bombing? Where were people standing up for the Constitution as a military force descended on their homes, forced searches, and terrorized innocent people?

      (And, lets not forget, never find the crook, it was a private citizen who pointed out where he was)

      • Zermoid says:

        That’s why they want to eliminate the armed citizenry, they know that an armed citizen is equal to a govt flunkie who is armed, and that citizens are better than flunkies at protecting an area, or finding who doesn’t belong there.

        • Bryan S. says:

          If it wasnt obvious… that was laced, dipped, smothered and deep fried in sarcasm.

  6. AndyN says:

    If the drone is bearing the arm, how is whatever you’re targeting a threat to you?

    Anyone on your property can be a threat to you. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to confront them before they become a direct physical threat to you? As I understand it, castle law says if you’re in my house I can shoot you, even if I own a huge house and I’m shooting you with a rifle from the other end of a 30′ long hallway. How am I, holding a rifle, threatened by an unarmed intruder well beyond arms’ reach? An armed drone would just extend that concept to the point where I wouldn’t have to put myself in the line of fire of an armed intruder.

  7. Bryan S. says:

    Drones for pest (feral hogs) control may be an idea.

    • Bryan S. says:

      But the ATF has already said that a semi auto controlled remotely is too easily turned FA, and thus if you do it, its post 86 construction.

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