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04/03/2017 News Release Image

CBS New York: "Debate Rages Over Proposal To Allow Weaponized Drones For Police In Connecticut"

GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A debate is raging over police departments deploying weaponized drones as a crime-fighting tool.

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, the Connecticut State Legislature is the weighing whether the state should become the first in the country to allow police to use drones outfitted with deadly weapons.

In 2015, Central Connecticut College student Austin Haughwout made national headlines when he set up a gun-firing drone and posted video of the device in action.

If police began using weaponized drones, they would be far more sophisticated than Haughwout’s gun drone rig. They would likely be more like a toned-down version of what has become common in 21st century warfare – flying weaponry that kills.

The sudden proposal has sent shockwaves through the halls of the State Capitol in Hartford.

“I didn’t even know this bill was in existence, and for this to go flying, so to speak, through the Judiciary Committee so quickly was a bit of a shock,” said state Sen. Scott Franz (R-Greenwich). “The worry about weaponized drones is that there could be abuse. There could be some operator error.”

The proposal starts by outlawing airborne weaponry in the hands of civilians, and then moves to establish guidelines, training and warrant requirements for deployment of the machines in the hands of law enforcement.

It is a step no other state has yet taken.

“It’s not necessarily unconstitutional, but as a matter of policy — if this were allowed — one would want, again, very strict regulation,” said Pace University Law School Professor Thomas McDonnell.

Watch the video.