Debate Rages Over Weaponized Drones for LE

HARTFORD, Connecticut — With improving technology, police and prosecutors have become increasingly concerned that criminals with drones could outfit them with guns and bombs to create havoc.

Now, law enforcement is flipping that on its head with a bipartisan proposal to permit police to equip unmanned aircraft with deadly weapons.

The legislature’s judiciary committee passed a bill this week that would make Connecticut the first state in the nation to allow the use of weaponized drones by law enforcement. North Dakota legalized police use of armed drones in 2015, but the law limits those weapons to less lethal technologies, such as rubber bullets and tear gas. The Connecticut measure contains no such restrictions.

Civil liberties groups were quick to denounce the idea. “It’s unprecedented,” said David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut. “No other state in the country proactively authorizes police to put lethal weapons on drones.

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