Legislation has been introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives that would regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and protect the privacy rights of citizens.

House Bill 1204 or the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act was introduced by Rep. Kenneth Wilson (R-District 12) earlier this month. The bill states that “no person, entity, or state agency shall use a drone or other unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance or observation of any individual, property owned by an individual, farm, or agricultural industry without the consent of that individual, property owner, farm or agricultural industry.”

H.B. 1204 also bans the use of surveillance drones in criminal investigations unless a proper warrant is issued.

The federal government wants to have drones in the skies peering down on you at all times. It has even been estimated that 30,000 drones could be in the air by 2020. If we do not take action now, our rights could be lost permanently.

Tenth Amendment Center’s executive director Michael Boldin said that this kind of bill has significant ramifications at the federal level because Washington’s is pushing and funding drone use at the state level.

“The feds want to push these on the states, and if the states refuse, it’ll foil their plan,” he said. “They already spy on Americans so much that Rand Paul said it numbered in the ‘Gazillions’ after a secret meeting last fall. If the feds can get the states to start buying up and running drones over our cities, they’ll certainly want access to all that surveillance  information in the future. It’s important that states begin drawing a line in the sand now – no aerial spying here.”

In fact, the federal government serves as the primary engine behind the expansion of drone surveillance carried out by states and local communities. The Department of Homeland Security issues large grants to local governments so they can purchase drones. Those grants, in and of themselves, represent an unconstitutional expansion of power.

The goal? Fund a network of drones around the country and put the operational burden on the states. Once they create a web over the whole country, DHS steps in with requests for ‘information sharing.’  Bills like these put a dent in this kind of long-term strategy. Without the states and local communities operating the drones today, it’s going to be nearly impossible for DHS plans to – take off.

ACTION ITEMS:

In Missouri:  Take steps to support HB1204 HERE

Other States:  Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation.  Model bills and contact info HERE.


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