Banning The Tool And Not The Act In NJ

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.

There were
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
     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.

By this definition, the sale of the laser products sold by Crimson Trace, Viridian, and LaserMax would all be outlawed.  Their peak output is 5 milliwatts.

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.

Crimson Trace Goes Green

Crimson Trace will now be producing green as well as red lasers. While I didn’t get a chance to play with them at the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis, I did hear about them from Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wires. This evening I received more information on these lasers and their anticipated release from Tiffany Hopp of Crimson Trace.

Tiffany sent the following:

Crimson Trace Debuts Industry’s First Instinctively Activated Green Handgun Lasers at NRA Annual Meetings

(Wilsonville, OR) In a move that caught much of the industry by surprise, Crimson Trace, the maker of the World’s only grip activated laser sights, unveiled its new line of green handgun lasers to a record crowd of over 70,000 consumers at the NRA Annual Convention in St. Louis last weekend. Boldly debuting six models in all significant platforms – Lasergrips®, Laserguard® and Universal Rail Master™ – scheduled to begin delivery to market in the Fall of 2012.

The first green lasers to hit the market will be in the Laserguard platform for Glock, Smith & Wesson M&P, Springfield XDm and 1911 frames and visually follow company’s award-winning Lightguard™ design. “By now, most consumers are savvy enough to know that green lasers have always been power-hungry compared to their red counterparts,” explained Kent Thomas, Director of Marketing for Crimson Trace. “By mounting them in front of the trigger guard, we’re able to utilize battery power in both a functional and design friendly way significantly more than ever – which means our customers never have to compromise on run time.” Also available in Fall 2012 will be the wildly popular Rail Master product, which is the company’s first Universal fit product for handguns with Picitinny Rails. Just as important as the green laser product introduction, holsters from BladeTech, De Santis, Crossbreed and Galco are available to fit these new green laser sights.

Creating the most buzz and excitement, however, were the sneak-peek prototypes of green Lasergrips®, scheduled to be available in early 2013. Green lasers have traditionally been much bulkier than red versions due to their more complex construction. Until now, this has prevented their use in the patented grip integrated lasers that made Crimson Trace the industry leader in laser sighting systems. Using an entirely new kind of laser, the company has managed to reduce the footprint of the diode package while simultaneously reducing the power it needs to function. “This new technology is a game changer,” said Thomas. “Next year, customers will be able to get the instinctive activation, innovative engineering and quality Crimson Trace is famous for, but with the option of green in a few of the most popular gun frames in the market. Once again, we’ve listened to the market, our loyal consumers and found a way to deliver what they want in only the way Crimson Trace can.”

I like the idea of a green laser as green is an easier color for me to pick up visually. This has to do with the fact that green is in the middle of the color spectrum and not at the end. Viridian has been pushing their green lasers for just this reason. That said, I’ve always like the way the Crimson Trace has integrated lasers into a handgun with their instinctive on-off grip switch much better than the way Viridian and others have mounted their lasers. Soon I’ll be able to have the best of both worlds!