An 18-year-old college student attached a semi-automatic handgun to a drone creating a weapon that fires remotely, and police say the invention is legal.
Austin Haughwout is under investigation after posting a video online showing the drone firing four shots.
Despite the presumed danger of Haughwout’s drone, police in his hometown, Clinton, Connecticut, have not found anything to charge the teenager with.
Local law enforcement have been unsuccessful but that doesn’t mean Haughwout is completely in the clear yet as the Federal Aviation Administration is determining if Federal Aviation Regulations were violated in the operation of the drone.
"Drones are wonderful when used recreationally, commercially, for public service and for humanitarian reasons as long as they are always operated safe and reasonably. This was not an example of safe and responsible operation," Drone advocate and lawyer Peter Sachs said. "By attaching a gun to a drone and firing it remotely, this person arguably endangered the life and property of another, which is in violation of federal aviation regulations."
Haughwout’s father said his son created the drone with the help of his Central Connecticut State University professor, but the teacher denies the claims.
"I discouraged him," the CCSU assistant professor, Edward Moore, said. "I tried to give him the same advice I would give my kids."
Haughwout’s drone raises questions about the future of this controversial technology and the implications of one might have in creating an invention whose prime usage is to kill.
“Drones should be used for good, not for evil,” Sachs said told ABC News. “There are countless ways that drones can be useful. Using one as a remote-controlled weapon is not one of them, and I question the judgment of anyone who would attempt to do so.”
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Beyond the dangers of a gun-firing drone that could easily wind up in the wrong hands is that the gun itself belongs to Haughwout's father who allowed him to use it for his potentially disastrous and harmful creation.
America's obsessive gun culture has escalated far enough that mass shootings have become a regular occurrence. And now along with the worry of shooting sprees from human hands, we have the added scary bonus of shots fired by machines.
“What if the drone gets beyond the distance of the radio control?” Tom Fuentes, a former assistant director of the FBI, told CNN Wire. “Do we want drones out of control that could land who knows here? We could have a child pick up the drone, pick up the gun, and accidentally kill themselves."