The New Jersey General Assembly has passed a bill out of the Consumer Affairs Committee that would ban the sale of laser pointers that generate more than one milliwatt output. The ostensible reason behind this ban is that law enforcement authorities say people have been shining laser pointers at plane cockpits.
Earlier this month, state and federal law enforcement authorities warned
of the dangers of pointing lasers at planes, an increasingly common
occurrence that can temporarily blind pilots and put the crew and
passengers at risk.
269 reported laser “strikes” in New Jersey airspace last year, authorities said, as compared to just four in 2007.
“Laser pointers can serve a legitimate need in the classroom and in
business settings, but clearly in those cases we don’t need
super-powered laser pointers that can put people at risk,” the sponsor
of the bill, Assemblyman Nelson Albano (D-Cumberland) said.
The bill would impose fines of not more than $500 for the first offense
and not more than $1,000 for each subsequent offense. An identical bill
passed the Senate in June.
people at risk.”
The bill, A3169, doesn’t just impact those laser pointers used in making presentations. From the text of the bill:
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:1. a. No person shall sell
or offer to sell a laser pointer that exceeds one milliwatt in output power.b. For the purposes of this
section, “laser pointer” means any device that emits laser light to
project a beam that may be used for aiming, targeting, or pointing out
features.c. Nothing in this section
shall apply to the sale of a laser pointer intended to be used by, or under the
supervision of, a health care practitioner licensed under the laws of the State
of New Jersey.
This is a bill that needs to go nowhere. It will end up banning a self-defense tool that can help in stressful situations. It is so typical of politicians that rather severely punishing the transgression they think it is easier to just ban something.