WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in introducing legislation to criminalize dangerous drone activity. Their bipartisan bill would help crack down on drug and human traffickers who use drones for their operations, as well as criminals who attach weapons to drones.
“Drones are becoming more prevalent, and as their use evolves, so must the law that governs them. Our bipartisan bill will help prevent this technology from being used to harm others, and gives law enforcement the necessary tools to shut down illegal drone activity,” said Senator Hassan. “Our legislation will help protect our national security, and I urge my colleagues to support it.”
The Drone Act of 2023 would help prevent drug traffickers and terrorists from using drones to carry out violent attacks. For instance, international drug traffickers are now using drones to spy on U.S. law enforcement at the southern border, smuggle drugs into the country, and even drop bombs on competing drug organizations.
Federal law currently prohibits certain uses for drones, but those provisions are limited and fail to address a wide range of illicit activity. This legislation will expand the list of criminal offenses and make them punishable with a $250,000 fine or a prison sentence. Among others, the new covered offenses include:
· Attaching a firearm, explosive or other dangerous weapon to a drone;
· Using a drone to cause serious bodily injury or death to a person, or causing damage to property;
· Interfering with a law enforcement activity;
· Transporting contraband with a drone;
· Crossing the U.S. border with a drone.