Previously-Waived Drone Registration Law Likely to Be Restored

The 2015 drone registration policy, overturned this year, may soon be included in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

byMarco Margaritoff| UPDATED Sep 13, 2021 4:55 PM
Previously-Waived Drone Registration Law Likely to Be Restored

The controversial drone policy introduced by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2015, requiring recreational drone users to registers their UAVs, was constitutionally overturned in May of this year, but it may end up being enforced again next year by being included in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act of 2018. 

According to Bloomberg, both the House and Senate agree on slipping the unmanned aerial vehicle registry into the defense bill, as demand for regulation in the drone industry is at an all-time high. Most recently, the White House expanded drone-testing regulations to presumably push toward standardizing nationwide UAV delivery. The current administration may deem a nationwide hobby-drone registration as a necessary first step toward that.

We reported on the overturning of the FAA’s highly sought-after national drone database back in May, as well as the administration’s most recent banning of UAVs operating near major U.S. landmarks. This latest news, according to Bloomberg, may very well result in a cemented new policy that won’t be dismissed by small print, as was the case when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington cited a 2012 law deeming the registry unconstitutional in May. 

The language of this implementation was concise. According to Bloomberg, only one paragraph was added to the NDAA bill, stating that the requirement for recreational users to register will be restored. This may only happen, however, if the new defense bill is approved.

Bloomberg reports that the FAA had registered 838,620 drones before the policy was overturned and that the estimate of hobby drones sold by end of 2017 will be around 2.3 million. Remember the agency’s offer to get a $5 registration fee refund back in July? Well, it turns out only 609 people actually made the effort to do so. Stay tuned as this drone registration mess untangles, and chime in below with your personal thoughts on the matter. Is it reasonable for the government to ask this of its citizens, or is it a bad precedent to set and a constitutional overreach?