If you were wondering whether your right to bear arms extends to the right to bear an armed drone, we have bad news.
In an email broadcast to world+dog, the US Federal Aviation Authority has reminded Americans "that it is illegal to operate a drone with a dangerous weapon attached".
"Perhaps you've seen online photos and videos of drones with attached guns, bombs, fireworks, flamethrowers, and other dangerous items," said the government agency, aware of such things as the Russians who strapped a shotgun to a drone.
The FAA really, really doesn't want you, the great unwashed, trying anything like this at home. In its email, seen by The Register, it said: "Do not consider attaching any items such as these to a drone because operating a drone with such an item may result in significant harm to a person and to your bank account."
If you're in America and you want to attach a shotgun, a rifle or even an RPG (yup, Russians again) to your drone, that is illegal. Specifically, so the US FAA tells us all:
Operating a drone that has a dangerous weapon attached to it is a violation of Section 363 of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act enacted Oct. 5, 2018. Operators are subject to civil penalties up to $25,000 for each violation, unless the operator has received specific authorization from the Administrator of the FAA to conduct the operation. “Dangerous Weapon” means any item that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury.
You'll never guess what US mad lads Throwflame have strapped to a drone (clue: it does exactly what it says on the tin)READ MORE
Bizarrely, some people – like in the description to this YouTube video – claim it is legal to install a flamethrower on a drone, and as it's a sunny Friday afternoon here at Vulture Central, we're not about to go diving into US law to figure out whether that's true or not. The FAA reckons its prohibition on "dangerous weapons" trumps all, but your mileage (and firepower) may vary.
The Feds do have the right to shoot down any drones they take a disliking to, so beware: your expensive toy might be destroyed if you arm it. ®