Tag Archive: Charlottesville Virginia

Rancho Mirage, California considering the strictest anti-drone ordinance in the US

image credit: roland/Flickr

Madison Ruppert
Activist Post

The Rancho Mirage City Council could pass an ordinance that would be by far the most restrictive of any in the United States, even banning the use of recreational drones in residential areas.

If passed, Rancho Mirage, California would join Charlottesville, Virginia and Seattle, Washington in restricting drone use along with the some 30 states considering anti-drone legislation.

There has even been talk of anti-drone action at the federal level, all in an attempt to push back against the massive rise of drone use in the United States by countless entities both public (ranging from US Marshals to law enforcement to the National Guard to the Department of Homeland Security to the military and more) and private (from potential use by media outlets to colleges and universities to commercial operators of all kinds).

While the vote on the proposal was delayed, according to My Desert, it is still quite noteworthy due to its highly unusual focus on the use of drones over residential neighborhoods.

“I didn’t find any ordinance such as this adopted by any municipality in the United States,” said the plan’s author, City Attorney Steve Quintanilla.

However, as My Desert points out, there was also a bill introduced in the Texas legislature which seeks to ban both possession and use of images of private property captured by drones without the permission of the property owners.
The proposed ordinance in Rancho Mirage would entirely ban the flying of “unmanned aircraft that can fly under the control of a remote pilot or by a geographic positions system (GPS) guided autopilot mechanism” up to 400 feet above residential zones.

Drones flying higher than 400 feet fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration.

While cameras are currently not covered in the proposed ban, they could be added, “But some of the cameras can be pretty small and hard to see, so that could be difficult to enforce,” according to Quintanilla.

By Madison Ruppert

Editor of End the Lie

(Image credit: M Hooper/Flickr)

(Image credit: M Hooper/Flickr)

State lawmakers in Maine have taken the initial steps towards limiting the use of drones by both state and local law enforcement, joining the many other states around the country also looking to regulate drone use.

Similarly, cities including Seattle, Washington and Charlottesville, Virginia are pushing back against drone use as well.

The legislation in Maine, which is waiting on a vote in the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, seems similar to that being considered in other states in that it “would limit the ability of state and local police to use drones and require a warrant before the unmanned vehicles are deployed in an investigation” according to the Portland Press Herald.

Unsurprisingly, the legislation has come up against resistance from law enforcement along with Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills.

Mills claims that the bill is too broad and the Maine Department of Public Safety says that drones could come in handy for search and rescue operations. Much of the legislation around the country has a clause allowing for exemptions for emergency use.

The Maine Department of Public Safety already purchased a drone which, according to the deputy chief, was for the sake of “curiosity,” according to the Herald.

The bill is sponsored by Democratic state Senator John Patrick and is part of a larger effort by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to regulate the domestic drone use.

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