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June 29, 2022
A defense technology development firm proposed this week that drones armed with tasers may be part of a wider solution to stopping active shootings in United States schools.
On the heels of the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting, Arizona-based military weapons developer Axon announced this week that it is working to develop drones armed with tasers that could go into schools and subdue active shooters faster and more safely than human law enforcement.
Axon describes the new technology as “a non-lethal, remotely-operated TASER drone system as part of a long-term plan to stop mass shootings,” in its Tweet announcing the drone idea. The firm touted the idea as a way to “help prevent the next Uvalde, Sandy Hook, or Columbine.”
The Thursday announcement met with mixed reviews from both inside and outside Axon, with some members of the company’s advisory board blasting the idea. When Axon first brought the idea to its ethics board last year, several of the experts pointed out the dangers of having armed drones hovering over communities of color and in spaces with small children, like schools.
“This particular idea is crackpot,” said Barry Friedman, a law professor who sits on the Axon AI Ethics Board. “Drones can’t fly through closed doors. The physical properties of the universe still hold. So unless you have a drone in every single classroom in America, which seems insane, the idea just isn’t going to work.” Friedman described the drones as “dangerous and fantastical” and says the board “begged the company not to do it. It was unnecessary and shameful.”
According to the Associated Press, some board members were only notified of the decision to announce the development of armed drones this week, days before the announcement was made. “Sometimes the company takes our advice and sometimes it doesn’t,” Friedman said. “What’s important is that happens after thoughtful discussion and coordination. That was thrown out the window here.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SHOWHOUSE.CO.UK