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McDonnell: We should not be afraid of drones

Sunday - 12/23/2012, 9:15am  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Unmanned aircraft, known as drones, have been successfully used overseas by the military for both recognizance and missile attacks, but is that technology transferable to civilian use?

The drones used by the military cost more than $4 million each, so no civilian agency is rushing to buy one. But there are simpler versions that can be used by law enforcement, and even simpler ones that are used by civilian hobbyists.

A new video raises questions whether they could be equipped to shoot more than pictures. It shows a drone mounted with a paint ball pistol flying over a field and hitting human-shaped targets with pellets.

"We should not be afraid of any new technologies consistent with our civil liberty," says Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Virginia isn't using any drone technology right now, but McDonnell says they could use it in the future.

"Over time, people are going to find any number of technologies that help catch bad guys and keep people safe," says McDonnell.

One of the issues preventing the use of unmanned drones by civilians is a lack of regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)