Drones are increasingly making their mark in the arsenal of US police forces, operating in a legal gray area and sparking concerns of constant surveillance of civilians.

The specter of armed drones surfaced with a law passed in North Dakota last month that allows police to equip the aircraft with teargas.

“It’s still a bit of a Wild West,” said American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) policy analyst Jay Stanley.

Since 2012, government agencies can use small drones — weighing less than 55 pounds, or 25 kilograms — under certain conditions and after obtaining a certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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