Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Seattle Case Shows Why Drone Regulation Should Be Local, Not Federal

Commentary

By John-Michael Seibler
and Jason Snead

Since Christmas 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued new, burdensome regulations on small recreational and commercial drones, ostensibly because these devices carry inherent and unique dangers that only the FAA can safely regulate.

Since June 2015, however, the city of Seattle has been quietly proving the FAA wrong. A Seattle municipal court recently convicted a drone operator for reckless endangerment, and sentenced him to 30 days in jail.1

This case decisively shows that states and localities are fully equipped to regulate local drone operations through the enforcement of existing, technology-agnostic civil and criminal laws.

During Seattle’s 2015 Pride...

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