U.S. House of Representatives Narrowly Passes DJI Drone Ban Bill

A close-up shot of the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone in flight, showing its front-facing camera, gimbal, and propellers. The background is a blurred, light brown landscape, highlighting the drone's details. The model name "MINI 3 PRO" is visible on one of its arms.

DJI may have been right to be worried about its potential ban moving through the United States legislation as the Countering CCP Drone Act narrowly passed through the House of Representatives this past week.

There are multiple steps a bill like the Countering CCP Drones Act, which was initially introduced last April by Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), needs to take in order to become law. Beyond official submission, the bill has to pass both House and Senate committee votes followed by passage in both houses of congress, and finally it must be signed by the President. The first of those steps occurred in May as the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) both passed the bill easily.

The next major hurdle was jumped on Friday as the bill, which was bundled into the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by a narrow margin of 217:199, Drone Life reports. Now the bill moves on to the Senate where it will be debated and possibly amended (bills out of the House rarely look the same once the Senate is done with them). If that bill isn’t identical to the one passed by the House, members of both wings of Congress will meet to reconcile the differences and both houses of congress will vote on the reconciled version. If both pass, the final step is for the President to approve and sign.

Gallagher and Stefanik (R-NY) argued that Chinese law allows the government there to compel DJI to participate in and assist in its “espionage activities” and as such, the company should be added to the FCC’s list of banned communications equipment and services in the United States.

“DJI presents an unacceptable national security risk, and it is past time that drones made by Communist China are removed from America,” Stefanik has said. “DJI drones pose the national security threat of TikTok, but with wings. The possibility that DJI drones could be equipped to send live imagery of military installations, critical infrastructure, and the personal lives of American citizens to China poses too great a threat. Allowing this practice to continue in the U.S. is playing with fire. This Chinese-controlled company cannot be allowed to continue to operate in the U.S.”

According to the South China Morning Post, a DJI representative said “the proposed bill sets a dangerous precedent for allowing baseless allegations and xenophobic fears to drive public policy decisions that could negatively impact public safety and the US economy.”

The Shenzhen-based company has become the worlds largest drone manufacturer which makes up over 70% of the world’s drone market share. The bill’s possible passage, therefore, has many drone pilots and advocates nervous. In its current state, the bill would not prohibit the use of already existing DJI drones in the Unite States, just the sale of future products, accessories, and software. However many fear that if it passes, drone operators may have their existing FCC authorizations of their products and drone fleets revoked, and devices forced to be grounded.

DJI and the Drone Advocacy Alliance have urged the public to reach out to Senators to oppose any legislation restricting the safe and responsible use of drones.

Image credits: Header photo by Ryan Mense for PetaPixel