House passes bill to prohibit pointing laser pointers at aircraft

May 23, 2007
May 23, 2007, Washington, DC--Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft or aircraft flight path is on the way to becoming a federal offense.

May 23, 2007, Washington, DC--Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft or aircraft flight path is on the way to becoming a federal offense. Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed HR 1615, the Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2007, by a voice vote, which amends the federal criminal code to prohibit the aiming of the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft or its flight path. Penalties imposed by the bill include a fine and/or a prison term of up to five years.

Since 1990 the Federal Aviation Administration has reported more than 500 incidents of pilots being blinded or disoriented by laser beams according to the bill's sponsor, Represenative Ric Keller (R-FL).

Aiming a laser pointer beam at an aircraft or aircraft flight path would not be illlegal, however, for: (1) individuals conducting research and development or flight test operations for an aircraft manufacturer or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); (2) Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security personnel conducting research, development, operations, testing or training; or (3) an individual using a laser emergency signaling device to send a distress signal.

For more information, contact the US House of Representatives.

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