Phillip Steel, a resident of Deer Trail, Colorado, is ready to fight for the Old West values he feels are being threatened by drones.
Asked what exactly he’s proposing to do when he sees an unmanned aircraft, Steel points his weapon to the sky.
“I am proposing to shoot it down,” he said.
Deer Trail — population 598 — was scheduled to vote Tuesday on a measure that would allow its residents to hunt for federal drones and shoot them down, but Mayor Frank Fields said Tuesday that the vote has been postponed while a district court decides whether the ordinance is legal.
The vote probably won’t happen until next year, the mayor said.
Steel said he wrote the ordinance after he learned the Federal Aviation Administration “loosened regulations that would allow the flight of drones in domestic airspace.”
The FAA recently announced plans to create six drone test sites around the country, none of which has been publicly listed. It plans to allow widespread use of domestic drones in 2015.
“The overall purpose of this test site program is to develop a body of data and operational experiences to inform integration and the safe operation of these aircraft in the National Airspace System,” the agency said.
Drones are cheaper to operate than helicopters. They can be used for multiple tasks, such as monitoring crops and livestock and assessing building damage.
It’s not drones, per se, Steel says he is against. He recognizes they can be helpful in some situations, such as a search and rescue effort, but believes they don’t belong in his backyard.