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DUGN Call To Action: Fight Drone Legislation, help beat the Drone Federalism Act


U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced a bill, S.1272, in the 115th Congress called the “Drone Federalism Act of 2017”. This bill proposes to give power to state, local, and tribal governments to create restrictions on drone use — the bill suggests example restrictions such as drone speed limits, no fly areas, no fly times, and drone noise limits. The bill also requires that you get permission from a property owner if you are flying within 200 feet above the property or within 200 feet of any structure on the property.

This bill, if enacted, will hurt drone users and greatly burden the drone industry. It creates a complicated patchwork of laws and hands authority to local governments to create oppressive drone rules that reach way beyond safety-based restrictions. What will local drone legislation look like? Well, so far, at least 135 local governments in 31 states have already enacted their own drone restrictions. As an example, the city council in Beachwood, NJ unanimously voted to create a $1000 fine and 3 months in jail for flying a drone anywhere in Beachwood. In Aventura, FL, you can be fined $500 for taking a picture of someone’s house without their consent. Imagine our entire country covered in a patchwork of these kinds of local drone restrictions, enabled by the Drone Federalism Act.

How to fight awful drone legislation:

  • READ the bill and the articles above so you can understand what is at stake.
  • WRITE letters to your representatives. The Drone User Group Network has prepared a template letter you can start with:
  • SHARE your thoughts on social media and recruit others to the cause!
  • DONATE to the Drone Legal Fund (, it’s still going!

The Drone User Group Network is a nationwide community organization of over 20,000 drone enthusiasts, makers, engineers, scientists, educators, and entrepreneurs. Our mission is to promote the safe and responsible use of small unmanned systems, and to educate the public about the positive role these devices can serve in our society – from personal enjoyment, to learning robotics, to saving lives in industrial applications. You can learn more at

Christopher Vo

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