New state law bans flying drones over fireworks shows

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A new state law that took effect Wednesday makes it illegal to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or a drone, over fireworks displays in Tennessee.

The changes to the law come after a UAV video captured Nashville’s “Let Freedom Sing” fireworks show on July 4, 2014.

Robert Hartline’s video got nearly 100,000 views on YouTube.

The new law makes it illegal to knowingly use an unmanned aircraft within or over a designated fireworks discharge, display or fallout site without permission.

It also makes it illegal to use an unmanned aircraft to intentionally capture an image of an individual or event at an open-air event venue “wherein more than one hundred individuals are gathered for a ticketed event.”

The new statute would make it a Class C misdemeanor to have UAVs in those areas.

“A Class C misdemeanor is only punishable up to 30 days in jail and a $50 fine,” said Nashville attorney Grover Collins. “But realistically, you never get jail time for a Class C misdemeanor.”

Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said UAVs are difficult to spot at night, so officers won’t necessarily be focusing on the skies.

“If officers encounter drones, as they pose a risk to public safety, we will take necessary action,” Aaron said.

For more information about the new law, click here.

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