A new law that would allow the federal government more freedom to operate drones in civilian areas has gone down badly in Deer Trail, Colo., where ex-soldier Philip Steel has been producing hunting licenses — and promising rewards — for people to shoot them down. Steel is optimistic this idea will trigger a nationwide fight against drones.
Metro: What have drones ever done to you?
Steel: The new law means anything in “navigable airspace” will be controlled by the government, which threatens property and individual rights. I am a gun rights advocate, and I expect drones will be used in the campaign to ban them. We need separation of powers to protect our sovereignty.
What else do you think the drones are going to do?
The government has already been caught spying and that doesn’t sit well with me. The Fourth Amendment of our constitution is supposed to prevent unreasonable searches, but drones with thermal imaging destroy that. Even if we trust the government – and we shouldn’t – they can be used by drug dealers, pedophiles and terrorists. The sky will be black with drones.
Who is going to support your counter-attack?
There are supporters all over the country; I have sold licenses in every state. But many people don’t understand the constitutional basis and think it’s a knee-jerk reaction. Some people say drones can be beneficial for traffic, livestock etc. But the government have opened our airspace to any threat without protecting us.
Are you serious enough to go to prison for shooting down drones?
I was a soldier, an officer in the U.S. army, and I swore an oath to protect us against enemies foreign and domestic. I still feel bound by that oath and see it as a duty to defend the constitution. Barack Obama has declared war on the constitution and wars need two sides.
Can you raise an army?
Yes I [can] and intend to train that army. I will equip, finance and train lots of people. If there are drones in civilian airspace we will shoot them down. It's war and the American people are beginning to fight back. The constitution has a final check and balance: the Second Amendment (permitting gun ownership). That is what protects us as a last resort against tyranny.