Father & Son Battling Feds in Court Over These Weaponized Drones
A father and son are in a battle with the FAA after they weaponized two drones, using them in widely-viewed YouTube videos.
One video last December showed a drone that was turned into a flamethrower and used to "roast a holiday turkey" in the backyard. It was watched more than 600,000 times.
A previous video, posted a year ago, of a drone firing a handgun in the woods was viewed more than 3.7 million times.
"Homemade multirotor with a semiautomatic handgun mounted on it," the video's description stated.
Austin Haughwout, 19, of Clinton, and his father, Bret Haughwout, are now headed to court in Connecticut after refusing to comply with subpoenas issued by the U.S. attorney's office on behalf of the FAA.
They argue that the subpoenas violate their constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and questioning the agency's authority to regulate recreational drones.
The case potentially has national significance because it would set a precedent on how much authority the FAA has over recreational drone use, said the Haughwouts' lawyer, Mario Cerame.
The FAA is seeking information from the fathers and son about the safety of the recreational drones.
"Based on media reports, the FAA believes that the respondents have built and/or operated at least two (drones) carrying weapons with the capability of causing serious injury to a person or property," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Larson wrote in a court filing.
Attorney and Fox News contributor Eboni Williams analyzed the case with Shepard Smith this afternoon, describing it as a case of "the law trying to catch up with technology."
Williams said some observers argue that the FAA is only concerned with the existence of a gun and flamethrower, not airspace rights.
"People are concerned that this is boot-strapping by the FAA, that they really have an issue with the gun and the fire thing and that's really what this is about," said Williams.
Watch the segment above.
Associated Press contributed to this report.