Press Releases

Reps. Johnson, Gallagher, Houlahan, Carter Introduce Counter-Drone Legislation to Protect Americans

WASHINGTON — Today, Representatives Mike Johnson (R-LA), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), and Troy Carter (D-LA) announced the introduction of the Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Act of 2023. The bill will improve the federal government’s ability to safeguard Americans from threats posed by UAS by reauthorizing existing authorities and creating new opportunities for federal agencies to coordinate counter-drone measures at the state and local level.

Currently, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice counter threats posed by unmanned aircraft through authorities established in the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018. Those authorities are set to expire in September.

“As the market for unmanned aircraft systems expands, it is critically important that our law enforcement agencies are equipped with the tools necessary to counteract any potential threats,” Johnson said. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan group of lawmakers in sponsoring this bill.”

“It’s no secret that commercial drones are becoming more and more commonplace in our communities,” Houlahan said. “Whether that be at soccer games or school functions, near military bases or airports, we need to make sure that there are sensible guardrails in place to protect Americans from potential threats. Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation builds upon existing law to address this rapidly changing technology. I’m proud to work with my colleagues across the aisle, in both the House and Senate, to pass this commonsense legislation.”

“Drones are useful pieces of technology, but in the hands of bad actors, they can pose a serious danger to Americans,” Gallagher said. “As these devices become more accessible and advanced, it’s critical we give law enforcement the tools they need to address this evolving threat. This commonsense bill reauthorizes existing authorities and ensures law enforcement officials have the tools they need to keep Americans safe, whether they’re at an airport or a Packers game.”

"In today’s world, technology is rapidly advancing, and with that progress comes new challenges. As unmanned aircraft systems become more prevalent in our daily lives, we must ensure that the safety and security of Americans are protected,” Carter said. “Our bipartisan legislation aims to create a robust framework that empowers federal agencies to effectively counter the threats posed by drones. By working together, we can safeguard our communities and preserve the peace of mind that every American deserves."

The bipartisan legislation also protects major businesses including sports associations. In May, the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) wrote a joint letter to House and Senate leadership in support of the Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act of 2023.

The bipartisan legislation has a companion bill in the Senate, which was introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and John Hoeven (R-ND).

Read the full text of the bill here.