Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Watch a GOP congressional candidate pretend to shoot down a drone


It used to be that shooting a cap and trade bill was enough to get you elected to Congress. How quickly times change.

In Montana, Republican House candidate State Sen. Matt Rosendale took the old "shoot the bejeezus out of something representing government run amok" trick to a new level. He shot down a (fictional) government drone.

"Spying on our citizens — that's just wrong," is one heck of a tagline. Also wrong though — and more importantly, illegal — is the destruction of government drones. Federal law is pretty clear on the matter:

Whoever willfully... sets fire to, damages, destroys, disables, or wrecks any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States or any civil aircraft used, operated, or employed in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years or both. [Cornell Law]

Twenty years in jail for shooting down a spy toy might seem like a joke, but the feds are serious. Last year, the FAA warned a Colorado town that was considering a bill to legalize drone hunting that "shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane."