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Can You Shoot a Drone Over Your Property?

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aerial drone shot of a sea shore

Although drones can be a lot of fun to fly, they can become a nuisance whenever other people constantly fly them onto your property. If you are having issues with people flying drones over your land, you might be looking for ways to get rid of the problem. One option that many individuals think about is shooting the drone down.

You should not shoot a drone, even one that is flying over your property. Not only is it unsafe, but the issue of property lines and invasion of privacy get blurry when it comes to drones, and you may be held financially responsible for any damage done to that person’s property as a result.

To learn more about why you should not shoot a drone over your property, keep reading. This article goes over the legality of shooting down a drone and offers better solutions.

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Can You Shoot Down a Drone That’s Spying on You?

Technically speaking, there are times when shooting down a drone is allowed. Still, you should express extreme caution before shooting down a drone over your property.

Reasons to Shoot Down a Drone

There are some cases when shooting down a drone is acceptable. For example, you can shoot down the drone if you prove that it is violating your privacy, is putting yourself or your family members in direct danger or is interfering with your life in a dangerous way.

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Image Credit: Piqsels

Reasons NOT to Shoot Down a Drone

Even though there are times when it is acceptable to shoot down a drone, doing so is not always permitted. For instance, the line gets blurry between legally approved actions when it comes to trespassing and invasion of privacy. Shooting a gun in the air is outright dangerous as well.

It’s Unwise to Shoot Down a Drone

What this means is that it is unwise to shoot down a drone that is spying on you. Although you do have rights, it can be difficult to enforce these rights when it comes to a drone in your area. In some cases, you will even be held responsible for the destruction of the other person’s property.

Are Drones an Invasion of Privacy?

In the United States, people have the right to privacy. If someone is constantly taking photos or pictures into your home, it is considered an invasion of privacy. Whether or not drones count as an invasion of privacy is still up for debate.

Most states consider drones to be an invasion of privacy whenever the individual flying the drone is using it with the intent to capture pictures, videos, or sounds of the person in their home. So, someone who is knowingly spying on you is invading your privacy when using a drone.

The problem is that it can be difficult to know and prove spying intent. If you only see a drone flying over your property, you don’t know if they are actually spying. For all you know, someone could be innocently flying over your property, not even paying attention to you, your home, or your family.

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Image Credit: Jason Blackeye, Unsplash

Are Drones Trespassing?

In addition to the right to privacy, citizens of the United States also have the right to defend themselves when it comes to trespassing. If someone is spying on you by physically crossing over into your property or putting you at risk in any way, you can defend yourself. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to define trespassing when drones are involved.

As the landowner, you are entitled to some of the land directly above your home. People should not be flying drones directly in the area above your land.

However, you are not the owner of the air above your home. There becomes a point when the drone is allowed to be in the air, and it is not considered on your property any longer. This height is determined by your local laws.

Because of this fact, it’s difficult to know whether the drone is in an area that is considered trespassing for you to act.

white drone in flight

Image Credit: Annie Spratt, Unsplash

Consequences of Shooting Down a Drone

If you shoot down a drone without good enough reason, you can be held liable for the action in a number of ways.

You May Be Held Liable After Shooting Down a Drone

Because there is no definite line between when you can shoot down a drone and when you cannot shoot down a drone, you may be held liable after shooting one down, even if it is over your property.

If the drone has no intention of spying and is well above your property, the owner of the drone has the right to sue you for destruction of property. They can take the issue to court, and the court may rule in their favor. When this happens, you have to pay for the destroyed property.

Not only that, but shooting down certain flying devices is actually illegal. For example, it is illegal to shoot down a plane when it flies over your property or anything else used for commercial purposes or federal transportation. You can be held liable for shooting down these devices and pay in jail time.

Gun Laws

One last thing you need to think about before shooting down a drone is gun laws in your area. You might not be allowed to shoot your gun except for in the case of self-defense if you live within city limits. It’s important to read gun laws in your area before shooting down a drone since you might be breaking these laws in the process.

phantom drone with camera

Image Credit: Allef Vinicius, Unsplash

How to Get Rid of a Drone Flying Over Your Property

Because it is unwise to shoot down a drone that is flying over your property, you should look for safer ways to bring down a drone instead. Here are some alternative ways to get rid of a drone that is flying over your property:

  • Anti-drone drones
  • Net-firing
  • Jam radio communications
  • Contact the authorities

If you are having a repetitive issue with drones being over your property, get the authorities involved. You might be able to get a private cause of action if you have spoken to the drone flier directly and they refuse to stop flying over your property.

shutter camera divider 2Final Thoughts

In some cases, you can shoot down a drone that is over your property. However, it can be difficult to determine when these scenarios arise. Not to mention, it can be dangerous to shoot a gun into the sky. Because of these reasons, it is unwise to shoot a drone down unless it is causing direct harm to you or someone in your family.

Instead, look for safer ways to get rid of the drone. These options will fix the problem, but they will not be as dangerous or illegal.


Featured Image Credit: Alejandro Cabrera, Unsplash

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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