[5/20/17]  A federal appeals court has shot down a rule that would require non-commercial drones be registered, a decision that critics say will make the skies less safe.

On Friday, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of John Taylor, a small unmanned aircraft (UAS) enthusiast, who first brought a case against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2016.

Taylor does not think that the FAA had the statutory authority to issue the Registration Rule and require him to register,” Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the decision. “Taylor is right.

The three-judge panel argued that the agency was barred from imposing new regulations on “model aircraft” due to a law that was passed by Congress and signed by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

The court said the FAA was violated the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which states that the agency “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft” so long as that aircraft is less than 55 pounds and only used recreationally.

The FAA responded to the ruling, saying it is “carefully” reviewing the decision.

The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats. We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision,” the agency said in a statement.

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