Drone Legislative Issue Page

Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones)

NACD supports drone policies that prioritize national security and safety, including legislation that advances rules to address drone identification, line of sight, and federal jurisdiction.


In 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released the first rules for routine non-hobby use of small unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The rule, which took effect in August 2016, offers safety regulations for drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations. The final rule requires drone operators to keep the drone within visual line of sight, restricts nighttime operations, and flying above 400 feet or near airports. Height and speed restrictions and other operational limits were also set. Today, over 1.1 million recreational drones are registered with the FAA.


NACD Supports:

  • Policies on UAS that prioritize national security and safety;
  • Mandatory registration for drone operators, including the requirement to produce proper legal documentation;
  • Granting law enforcement the power to land, seize, and search drones, including where unauthorized data is collected and a warrant has been issued;
  • Extending the definition of exclusion zones to include chemical facilities and warehouses identified as high risk; and
  • Government use of expanded technology to detect and repel unauthorized drones.


Latest Action

Congress has enacted a law that gives the Department of Homeland Security the authority to track and take down malicious or reckless drones. Legal authority to use counter-drone technology has only been granted to the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Energy, and Justice. The FAA issued a proposed rule that would permit small drones to fly at night and over people. Current regulations require companies to secure FAA waivers to carry out these operations. The advancement of the rule is dependent on drone remote identification — which has not yet been proposed. Congress continues to mull over drone-specific legislation. Identification, line of sight, and federal jurisdiction continue being top legislative issues for 2021.


NACD Resources


For further questions about NACD’s Drone Issue Page, please contact Nicholas Breslin, Coordinator of Government Affairs at nbreslin@nacd.com.