Since Christmas 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued new, burdensome regulations on small recreational and commercial drones, ostensibly because these devices carry inherent and unique dangers which only the FAA can safely regulate.
Since June 2015, however, the city of Seattle, Washington, has been quietly proving the FAA wrong. A Seattle Municipal Court recently convicted a drone operator for reckless endangerment, and sentenced him to 30 days in jail.
This case decisively shows that states and localities are fully equipped to regulate local drone operations through the enforcement of existing, technology-agnostic civil and criminal laws.
During Seattle’s 2015 Pride Parade, Paul Skinner crashed his 2 pound, 18-square-inch drone, which retails at around $1,200, into a building. The drone fell into the crowd below and struck a woman on the head, knocking her unconscious.