MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A bill going through state legislation could ban the use of weaponized drones while specifically exempting law enforcement from this rule. That leaves the door open for police to arm unmanned aerial vehicles with both lethal and non-lethal weapons.
South Carolina currently has no law about how law enforcement can use drones. Sponsor of the bill Representative Wendell Gilliard says his goal is to have police use drones the same way the military has. Gilliard says, “We have private citizens who have equipped drones with weapons. We don’t want it to get out of hand. And this is why we have to regulate the use of drones and put this type of technology to right use in the hands of our law enforcement here in the state of South Carolina.”
In the Grand Strand, the Myrtle Beach Police Department is currently completing the necessary requirements to fly their own drones which aren't in service yet. Gilliard says he wants to move in the direction of other states like North Dakota, the first state to use drones as a crime fighting tool.
Mitchell Endicott Owner of Ed’s Hobby Shop in Myrtle Beach, says drones were a big hit this holiday season. But before any of those new drones can take flight, they’ll have to be registered first. The Federal Aviation Administration is now requiring online registration to prevent risks to people on the ground and to commercial aircrafts. Registration is good for three years, and the 5 dollar fee allows you to register multiple drones.