Police drones in North Dakota are now allowed to arm its drones with "non-lethal" weapons such as tasers, tear gas, and guns with rubber bullets, because of the passage of House Bill 1328.
Originally, the bill focused on limiting police surveillance using aerial vehicles. In its draft, it banned law enforcement drones from arming any weapon and it required a search warrant before police could deploy a drone for hunting down criminals and evidence.
However, North Dakota Peace Officer's Association, a police lobby group, was able to amend the bill to limit the weapon ban to "lethal weapons," thus, making it possible to mount non-lethal weapons, Gizmodo reports.
The amendment was granted by the state by Bruce Burkett, a member of the lobby group, according to International Business Times.
Rick Becker, the Republican sponsor of the original bill, seemed resigned about the revision. "This is one I'm not in full agreement with. In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: drones should not be weaponized. Period," he said, according to The Verge.
North Dakota Department of Commerce and other state business interests are also expecting that the unmanned airborne industry could help move things along for the state's economy, which has been in a slump recently, Gizmodo adds.