NJ Senate Bans Powerful Laser Pointers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The state Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would bar the sale of certain powerful laser pointers, sending the measure to Gov. Chris Christie's desk.

    But it's not yet known when or if the governor will act on the bill.

    The measure passed Monday by a 36-1 vote would ban the sale of laser pointers that exceed one milliwatt in output power. Current federal regulations allow for the sale of laser pointers that have an output power of up to five milliwatts.

    Laser pointers intended to be affixed to a firearm do not fall under the bill's general prohibition.

    The Assembly approved the measure in June. Violators would face $500 fines for the first offense and up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

    Federal law enforcement authorities say lasers can temporarily blind pilots and put an aircraft's crew and passengers at risk.

    The FAA recently reported that two commercial airliners on approach to Newark Liberty International Airport were illuminated by lasers last week. A privately operated helicopter was also targeted during the same period.

    No injuries were reported in the incidents.

    The FAA says the helicopter was illuminated with a green and white laser at 1,600 feet, about 10 miles south of Newark.

    About a half hour later, a Boeing 737 and an Embraer 135 were targeted with a green laser on final approach to the airport. They were at an altitude of 3,000 feet, one mile east of Teterboro Airport.

    More than 2,200 laser incidents were reported nationally through Aug. 2, including 27 in New Jersey and eight in Newark.