It doesn't matter. You can never legally shoot down a drone
I have an RC model i can fly around my kitchen. The FAA doesn't give a lick whether I crash it into the couch, the kids shoot it down with water pistols, or the dog chomps it right out of the air.
But also, that's how trespass law commonly works. [...] Once I encounter you on my property and tell you to leave, if you resist I can execute a citizen's arrest for trespassing.
That is how trespassing is applied to PEOPLE. Objects are more complicated.
Let's say you aren't home for the afternoon... and then I
- park a bicycle on your front lawn and then leave.
- park a car on your front lawn and then leave.
- crash a kite into your yard, and then leave.
These are also all trespasses.
And in general the law copes with all of these quite well; albeit differently from how it copes with with people. IF you know whose it is you can write them a letter asking them to remove it; and if they don't you can press charges for trespass, and also sue them for any costs associated with having it removed.
In the case of a vehicle in particular, because its large, heavy, usually valuable, and registered to someone this is always possible; and you can also call the police and have the vehicle towed; or even just call the towing company directly -- as this is common enough; they can escalate it to the police if they need to.
In principle you can call the police and have the bike and kite removed as well and the owner can then claim it from them, but in practice as the dollar value of the property goes down the police become less interested, and it becomes more permissible to just dispose of it. (But the property never actually becomes yours unless a court awards it to you, so if the original owner comes looking for it can become nasty if you disposed of something valuable that they left on your property.
Now drones are a bit more unique, because its still trespass; and the property owners, in principle have the right to collect the object on the property, and they can then call the police to turn it in and file a report that they want to press charges against the owner for tresspass, etc. Consider someone playing with an RC car on your property for example, but standing on the other side of the property line -- or perhaps the RC car was programmed like a drone (relying on cameras, gps, programmed routes etc so the operator could be completely out of site / far away.
You would absolutely be in your rights to catch the RC car, turn it in, call the police, and press charge for trespass if the owners show up to claim it.
While the property owner cannot simply destroy the car; if the car were damaged in the process of seizing it, I would expect the courts to side with the trespassee over liability for any damage caused incidental to recovering it.
However, aircraft drones by their nature are much harder to collect, and they can 'remove themselves from your property' without the owner having to physically show up to collect them. They are also noisy. They are usually equipped with cameras and other surveillance equipment so instead of being merely a passive object 'left' on your property; they are actively violating the owners property to much greater degree. That should not be allowed to occur with impunity.
I'm not sure what the solution here really is. In the absence of an obvious operator to complain to, by shooting it down, the property owner has, *in my opinion* taken a reasonable step to collect the unwanted drone on his property; so that it can be recovered and turned in to the police.
If the FAA wants a different solution then I propose clearly visible call letters and a radio identity beacon a smartphone app could read would need to be on any drone, so that I could easily call the police and report the trespass. Drone operators would need to register their drones, and report and record flight plans.
And any drone that wasn't clearly identified... would then still be fair game to take down.
Simply put you don't get to park a camera 20' over my back yard with complete impunity just because you feel like it. That would be ridiculous. The home owner has to be given SOME recourse.
Asking them to leave and a citizens arreset doesn't work for an unmanned device hovering over my back yard with no operator in sight.
Collecting it and turning it into the police IS the protocol for trespass by an object belonging to someone else. If shooting it down is the ONLY way to collect it...
I'm not really a fan of shooting them down either, but I don't see another option here.