North Dakota became the first state in the United States to approve the use of drones carrying “less than lethal” weapons, including tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbags, pepper spray and Tasers. The bill, specifically, prohibits the attachment of deadly weapons to drones.
The sponsor of the original bill, Republican state Rep. Rick Becker, originally created the bill to make sure law enforcement was required to acquire a search warrant before being able to use a drone to collect evidence. “In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized.Period,” Becker said at a hearing in March.
Unfortunately for Becker, he was forced to compromise to get the bill passed and it was changed to allow the drones to carry non-lethal weapons.
“I submitted with prohibition of any weapons,” he said. “The law enforcement lobby offered an amendment and said that if the amendments were added, they would not oppose. The committee accepted amendments and I didn’t fight them because I wanted the bill to pass at least to require warrants. The law says that law enforcement can’t use drones weaponized with lethal weapons.
“In 2017 when I get back, I will introduce a bill to also include non-lethal,” he added.
Non-lethal weapons can also kill people, though that is not there intent. In 2015, at least 39 people in the U.S. were killed by police Tasers, according to The Guardian.