Julian Residents Voice Concern about Drone Testing

By Dave Summers
|  Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013  |  Updated 10:35 PM PDT
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San Diegans Protest, Debate Drones

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San Diegans Protest, Debate Drones

While some San Diegans gather to protest the use of drones, others argue the importance of the devices. NBC 7's Brandi Powell speaks to those on both sides of the ongoing drone debate.
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Residents of the back country communities of San Diego County are sounding off about drone testing.

They are concerned about their safety, environment and privacy, but mostly about why they say there are no regulations concerning any of those.

By 2020, members of citizen advocacy group “Back Country Voices” say there will be 30,000 unmanned aircraft nationwide.

“There is no solid legislation in place to control the use of these drones,” BCV Organizer Lisa Elkins said.

Drones can fire guns and rockets, deliver packages, allow operators to see for miles and record it all.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor gave this statement to NBC 7:

The FAA plans to select six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test sites by the end of the year. Data collected from the sites will help the FAA determine how best to safely integrate UAS systems into the national airspace over the next several years and what certification and navigation requirements will need to be established.

Julian residents, most wanting to avoid being drone guinea pigs, gathered Wednesday at the town hall to better understand the FAA's intentions.

Among the guest speakers was American Civil Liberties Union attorney Gabriela Rivera.

“People have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes, and we don't want to become a mass surveillance state,” Rivera said.

Retired commercial pilot Jim Garrity says drone technology shouldn't be dismissed by fear of the unknown.

“If there is a crook out there and they can find him or a child molester or car thief, they should use it, “Garrity said.

San Diego is a technological hub and has many manufactures wanting to corner the drone market.

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