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Jurisdiction

LSRFAQ

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I often see posts where forum members say "They (insert government agency here) do not have jurisdiction over me/you/us". Ever wonder what happens when a Federal Agency decides to explore where and when it's jurisdiction begins and ends? This is for drones, not lasers, but you could see what could happen if FDA decided to enforce against some one. Please note that the Judge in this case is really, really good at understanding constitutional issues and finding case law, in fact probably far better then most. He could have simply issued the order, but he instead fleshes out all the issues for balanced reasoning, as he knows his decision will probably create a new case law or be appealed. Read here:

This is "Firearm on Drone", but you could mentally insert "Laser on Drone".....



So the Federal District Attorney decided to investigate on behalf of the FAA. This is the first court ruling when the drone owner's attorney tried to quash the subpoena. Since the doctrine of "Separate Sovereigns" is still in place for now, even if the drone owner prevails in Federal court, he could still face state charges for misuse of a firearm etc.. Note the FAA may be acting on administrative law and not be asking for a criminal charge, ie fine the drone owner for misuse of an aircraft. Law is a complex beast.

I have an interest in this as a student drone owner recently flew a camera flight looking into a glass building I sometimes work in. Repeated up and down scans of the building, which is a secured research area on a university campus. Not just a look at the building, but a serious attempt at reconnaissance, no doubt stitching the pictures together with software.

The building has a "mystique" about it cultivated by its secure status on an otherwise open campus. However if the student would have asked for a tour he probably would have got one. He even brought a safety observer along, so at least he was not stupid about it. If he knew the glass panels are about twenty thousand dollars a piece he might have been wiser then to fly within twenty feet of the structure. :)

Steve
 
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paul1598419

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That is very interesting, Steve. I suppose the FAA does have jurisdiction over a drone with a handgun attached to it........more so than other government agencies. Anyone who put a laser on a drone and proceeded to post videos of it could expect the same scrutiny that the gun drone did as well. Especially if the laser in question is a class IV.
 

Encap

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Much has changed since that 2016 court ruling.

FAA has jurisdiction over all USA airspace.

On October 5, 2018, the President signed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (PDF). The Act establishes new conditions for recreational use of drones and immediately repeals the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.
The Section 336 protection, which prevented the FAA from regulating model aircraft was repealed, closing the hobbyist loophole.
Recreational users must register their drone and pass an Aeronautical Knowledge Test. This was seen as necessary as step towards building a Universal Traffic Management system where both drones and traditional aircraft can be tracked effectively.
The FAA has been mandated to create another pilot program, this time for Counter-UAS technology and accurate incident reporting. Law enforcement will soon be enabled to report on illegal drone use by inputting incidents into a common database to be reviewed by congress on a yearly basis.
Section 363. Prohibition regarding weapons.
This section establishes a civil penalty for operating an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system that is equipped or armed with a dangerous weapon. As of the new law the guy with the handgun and flamethrower equipped drones would get a fine of $25,000 for each instance.
Section 372. Enforcement.
This section directs the FAA to establish a five-year pilot program to utilize available remote detection or identification technologies for safety oversight, including enforcement actions against operators of UAS that are not in compliance with applicable Federal aviation laws, including regulations. This section also directs the FAA to establish and publicize a mechanism for the public and Federal, State, and local law enforcement to report suspected unlawful operations of UAS and requires annual reporting to Congress. Finally, this section adds Chapter 448, as added by this Act, to the civil penalty regime under title 49 of U.S. Code. 20

See: https://dronedj.com/2018/10/03/senate-faa-reauthorization-act-2018/

See: https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/
 
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