Chad Cain | Gazzette Net
NORTHAMPTON — In what supporters believe is the first of its kind in the country, the city of Northampton is calling on the federal government to stop using unmanned drone aircraft to carry out “extrajudicial killing” and to reject proposed regulations that seek to turn private backyards into public airspaces for drones.
In unanimously approving a drone aircraft resolution last week, the City Council became the second municipality in the country — and first in New England — to take an official position in relation to drone use.
“This actually gives me chills,” City Council President William H. Dwight said. “This concerns me a great deal.”
Unlike a resolution approved by the city of Charlotte, N.C., Northampton’s resolution is the first to address the issue by highlighting the Federal Aviation Administration’s desire to change long-standing rules governing “navigable airspace” to accommodate drone flights closer to the ground. If approved, the new rules would seriously infringe on private property rights and make it easier for the government to use drones for surveillance, resolution supporters said.
Others condemn the government’s use of the military drones to carry out targeted attacks overseas that have killed innocent people and turned public opinion against the U.S. government in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.
“Whether we like it or not, literally, the air around us is being changed to accommodate the type of drones that conduct surveillance and, yes, the ones that are armed,” said Jeff Napolitano, program coordinator for the western Massachusetts chapter of the American Friends Service Committee.
CALLING ALL NEW YORKERS
You’ve heard of U.S. military drones spying on and killing people overseas. That could happen here in our hometown, so let’s stop it before it starts. There is precedent. On March 18, 2013, in Seattle, Washington, Mayor Mike McGinn ordered the city police department to scrap plans it had to roll out drones, and instead to focus its resources on public safety and the community building work that is the city’s priority. In Charlottesville, Virginia a version of the resolution presented below, calling for a moratorium on drones in Charlottesville, was passed on February 4, 2013.
Let us join other cities and persuade our City Council to pass a resolution banning the use of drones in New York City. The Granny Peace has spoken with with a representative in every New York City Council Member’s office about the resolution. Most often we spoke with the legislative director. Next we sent this resolution to all New York City Council Representatives and also to a staff member.
Below is an Anti-Drone Resolution written by David Swanson and modified for use in New York City by the Granny Peace Brigade. The original anti-drone resolution was presented to the Charlottesville City Council in December 2012. It is clear that drones are here to stay. Only by constant vigilance and outcry will we be able to stop the use of drones in NYC for all but humanitarian reasons. A resolution such as this would be a good first step.Read the resolution here
Charlottesville, Va., has become the first city in the United States to formally pass an anti-drone resolution.
The resolution, passed Monday, “calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court,” and “pledges to abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones.”
[PHOTOS: The Rise of the Drone]
The resolution passed by a 3-2 vote and was brought to the city council by activist David Swanson and the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group based in the city. The measure also endorses a proposed two-year moratorium on drones in Virginia.
Councilmember Dede Smith, who voted in favor of the bill, says that drones are “pretty clearly a threat to our constitutional right to privacy.”
Take action within your own community by passing this local resolution in your town/village/city. The resolution seeks to ban the use of drones from the airspace over cities due to the serious threat that drones present to both our privacy and our safety. If you want to join our team of local leaders working to get the resolution passed in your area, email laura.codepink@gmail to be added to our listserv or to receive additional information. With your help we can limit domestic drone usage all across the country!
ORDINANCE of the City (Town, Village, County)
PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC AGAINST USE OF UNMANNED AERIAL
1. United States airspace is the busiest in the world, with up to 87,000 flights per
day, including commercial airliners and freight haulers, air taxis and private
and military aircraft.
2. Unmanned aerial vehicles (referred to in the remainder of this ordinance as
drones) are not now allowed in United States general airspace because of the
threat they present to other aircraft. Under the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 the FAA is
directed to create regulations that will enable drones to fly throughout US
airspace by September 2015.
3. Small drones, 25 pounds or under, are now permitted to fly in general airspace
below 400 feet for the use of police and first responders, with FAA permission.
4. Drones have limitations in “vision” compared to the vision of human pilots, do
not have the same capability to avoid other aircraft as aircraft piloted by
humans, and there has been at least one instance outside the United States of a
drone collision with an aircraft with a human pilot on aboard and as well as a
near miss. These instances occurred in airspace much less crowded than that
of the United States.
5. Drones have at times gotten out of human control, in at least one instance
having to be shot down, and drones are susceptible to having control seized
electronically by unauthorized operators.
6. Drones have the capability of carrying a variety of weapons, including 12-
guage shot guns, tear gas, rubber bullet guns, bombs and missiles, but drones
have significant limitations in identifying specific individuals and groups.
7. Unmanned aerial vehicles have the capability to watch individuals, groups and
populations on a 24-hour basis, following and recording their movements for
days and weeks in an unprecedented way.
8. Unmanned aerial vehicles have the capability to continuously monitor cellphone
and text messaging of individuals, groups and populations.
9. Drones are being developed that will use computerized facial images to target
individuals and, once launched, to operate, autonomously, without further
human involvement, to locate and kill those individuals.
We find therefore that:
Drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to public safety in the air and
to persons and property on the ground in the City of________________________ due to
limitations in drone “vision”, capability to avoid other aircraft and adequate control,
Armed drones and surveillance drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat
to the rights of individual privacy, freedom of association and assembly, equal protection
and judicial due process in the City of _______________________.
1. Drones are hereby banned from airspace over the City of__________, including drones
in transit. Flying of a drone within the airspace of the City of_____________shall be
considered a gross misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not
to exceed $5,000. More than one offense of flying a drone within said airspace will be
considered felonies, with jail time and fines based on the number of violations. (Specifics
on misdemeanor and felony classifications and penalties will vary by locality.)
2. Drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or otherwise used by any
agency of the City of_____________________.