HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut State Legislature is attempting to pass a bill that would make the state the first in the country to allow police to use drones outfitted with deadly weapons. The bill is now pending in the state House of Representatives.
According to CNN, the bill was created after a video by Connecticut resident Austin Haughwout went viral in which he attached a handgun and flamethrower to his drone.
The purpose of the legislation is to prevent these types of weaponized drones in the state, however it includes an exemption for law enforcement.
Committee co-chair Paul Doyle, who helped add the amendment says, “It’s conceivable that it is a positive resolution in an emergency, aka terrorist situation. If a terrorist is in the middle of an operation, in theory, the drone could kill him.”
Co-chair of the Judiciary Committee William Tong says the Police Officers Standards and Training Council, the state’s main body of regulation for police, would be responsible for creating guidelines on how officers should use drones.
The guidelines would then be sent back to the state legislature for final approval.
However not everyone is as supportive of the bill as state legislators.
“Data shows police force is disproportionately used on minority communities, and we believe that armed drones would be used in urban centers and on minority communities,” says David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut. “That’s not the kind of precedent we want to set here.”
If Connecticut’s House passes the bill, it will then move on to the Senate.
North Dakota was the first state to permit law enforcement agencies to use armed drones, however they are limited to “less than lethal” weapons such as tear gas and stun guns.
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