Eighteen-year-old Austin Haughwout broke no state laws when he made a really cool invention. He’s broken no federal laws, either, but according to Popular Mechanics, the F.B.I. wants to have a conversation with him anyhow. That is because he created (and proudly uploaded) a “video of a DIY, pistol-shooting quadcopter firing off a few test rounds in the woods.” The teen has drawn a lot of attention, to say the least.
WFSB News has reported that the young Connecticut gentleman already had an altercation with a lady who was not fond of what is called his “quadcopter antics.” However, eyebrows went up when his father on Friday said that he had created a drone that could fire a pistol. It is not known if a prosecution is the government’s goal, or if his invention is disliked by the authorities or not.
In the age when 3-D printing gets better by the week and it ranks as a popular Twitter hashtag many days each week, it should be no surprise that creations like this will be as common as dirt in just a few years. Like it or not, this is something that the feds won’t be able to easily stop. This may not have been created via 3-D technologies, but the just the same, the larger point is clear.
It isn’t as if the lad was looking to harm anyone or even to hide what it is that he is doing. He made the clever contraption with one his professors from Central Connecticut State University and has not been shy about displaying it on YouTube, for example.
While Second Amendment advocates will likely rush to Haughwout’s side (and one could argue that they should if his studies are halted by Uncle Sam in some way), there are concerns. For one, if the machine tilts wrong or otherwise misfires, it could really hurt an innocent person.
However, there is the worry that it could have a mishap and start shooting at the creator or one of the operators. That isn’t to say that this should not be tested, but that it must be tested with the use of a little caution and common sense.
Also, what if the drone is shot down, crashes, or flies beyond reach. At that point, anyone from killers to toddlers could have a new “toy,” a very real concern that also puts innocents in harm’s way.
Lastly, if someone in authority did not at least ask (there is no law against that, either) and this inventor had flipped out and started killing people (just an analogy), the people would be livid that no one even inquired what was happening after the video was seen.
So far, the weaponized drone maker has done his research and he has broken no laws whatsoever. While Popular Mechanics takes the anti-gun stance and writes that the “natural law” says “maybe don’t put a pistol on a drone because that could probably go pretty wrong pretty fast,” that is a bit too heavy-handed.
There are practical uses for this weapon. No, there isn’t a sane American who should want the government or law enforcement to use such creations on the people, but that doesn’t mean that such devices have no practical use. For that matter, firing blank rounds in a cornfield to scare off animals ready to eat the harvest is even an option.
It could even be a sport among deer (and other hunters) in closed off sections of the woods someday.
That said, with the risks involved, it is good to know that this is being done out in the open. Otherwise, it this could get very scary very quickly.