Colorado Town Mulls Letting Residents Shoot Down Drones

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One small town in Colorado has decided to take a stand against drone surveillance. Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel has drafted an ordinance that would allow residents to purchase a permit to shoot down drones. "We do not want drones in town," Steel said. "They fly in town, they get shot down." According to the ordinance:

The Town of Deer Trail shall issue a reward of $100 to any shooter who presents a valid hunting license and the following identifiable parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle whose markings and configuration are consistent with those used on any similar craft known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government.

For just $25 a year, Deer Trail citizens can take a stand against government surveillance policies, by shooting drones down with "any shotgun, 12 gauge or smaller, having a barrel length of 18 inches or greater." Sounds good, as long as you ignore the fact that damaging federal property is a crime. Which, apparently, the citizens of Deer Trail are happy to do. Equally important is the apparent lack of drones flying over the town. Deer Trail, which is about 55 miles east of Denver, has a population of just over 550 people. It's not exactly a hot spot for whatever it is the government is looking for, and Steel admitted to never having seen a drone. "This is a very symbolic ordinance," Steel said. "Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way."

Steel, whose name suggests a character in a vintage spy novel, might be the only person who's serious about this. His fellow townsfolk mainly see the permits as a way to make money. "Even if a tiny percentage of people get online (for a) drone license, that's cool. That's a lot of money to a small town like us," David Boyd, a Deer Trail resident, told 7NEWS. "Could be known for it as well, which probably might be a mixed blessing, but what the heck?" Not that this would be the first thing Deer Trail's known for. In 1869 the town held the world's first rodeo (sorry, Texas). Drone hunting could be the next big thing. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.