By Katie Kieffer
Steel resides in the bucolic Colorado town of Deer Trail. Earlier this month, Steel brought a proposal before the Deer Trail’s Board of Trustees: locals should be able to apply for and obtain hunting licenses to shoot down drones. Steel’s idea received traction and went to ballot before the town’s 350 registered voters. The proposed ordinance stated, in part:
“Whereas, many Western communities in rural America provide monetary incentives (bounties) for the killing of predators that are injurious to Man and his interests, the Town of Deer Trail likewise establishes hunting licenses and bounties for the killing of unmanned aerial vehicles, in keeping with the Western traditions of sovereignty and freedom. [sic]”
Steel’s ordinance was ultimately voted down, however his idea caught the national media’s attention. For example, TIME Magazine picked up the story, pointing out that Steel’s ordinance: “…highlighted [growing civilian] displeasure with government surveillance…”
The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) even responded to Steel’s ordinance by releasing a statement: “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”
This is absurd. The current administration—as I expose in my forthcoming book, Let Me Be Clear, has used a drones to target and kill an innocent young American citizen and has yet to be held accountable for this murder. Last week, federal judge Rosemary M. Collyer disappointingly and inexplicably threw out the young man’s family’s lawsuit against the Obama administration for murdering their son—along with six additional innocent civilians—three years ago in Yemen.
It is shocking to realize that we have a former lawyer and self-described “constitutional law professor” representing us in the White House and yet our constitutional rights have never been in greater jeopardy. Obama acts like the law of the land and the laws of nature are “suggestions.” Some lawyer!
Whether you’re grilling hamburgers in your backyard this summer—or enjoying a glass of wine and a bowl of gnocchi in a rustic Italian restaurant—you face the threat of unjust lethal drone force. As I’ve written here and here, America’s international and domestic drone policies are silently threatening the natural and constitutional rights of all American citizens. Despite assurances from Attorney General Eric Holder, Judge Collyer’s recent decision raises new doubts on whether American citizens are safe from lethal drone force abroad and at home.
As humans, we have a natural, God-given right to our private property—and our first piece of private property is our own body. The Fourth Amendment acknowledges this natural right. Furthermore, we also have a right to due process. The right to due process is protected by the Fifth Amendment which states that no American citizen may be: “…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Hunters and gun owners of America: I encourage you to speak up. Take a cue from Phil Steel and propose drone hunting legislation in your town and state. Even if it is voted down (the first time), you will make an important point: the federal government may not deprive us of our natural and constitutional rights to private property and due process.
I’m going drone hunting. Gonna catch a big one. I’m not afraid.
Check out Katie’s new book LET ME BE CLEAR: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials and One Woman’s Case for Hope. Preorder and get early bird discount.