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Old 07-07-2012, 05:34 AM #1
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Default Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

Let me preface this by saying I'm not some idiot kid with a high-powered laser shooting airplanes and generally being a dumbass. I use proper safety precautions and am aware of and observe regulations regarding the use of laser equipment.

A while back I was out for a walk at night and a large, aggressive dog started advancing towards me. Having nothing to defend myself save a pocket knife and my 1 watt 445nm, I de-focused the laser until the dot was several feet wide and fired it at the dog once it was a clear threat, causing it to spook and run away.

My question is whether or not using a laser in this manner against either a person or animal is legal, assuming that the laser is de-focused enough to cause no damage. I live in an area with lots of bred-for-aggression pit bulls and a few possible drug dealers, but I don't want take a life or lose my own in the event of a confrontation.

I am aware of the illegality of using lasers to MAIM, and the illegality of simply shining a laser at someone, but in a self-defense scenario, is the use of a laser in the previously-mentioned way legal?

I live in Texas, if that's any help. It seems to me that if you're allowed to shoot someone in self-defense, it would be legal to cause temporary discomfort via light.

Edit: I found some other threads talking about this, but my question is slightly different; I have no intention of causing long-term harm, and as such, I think this question is different enough to warrant a thread. Also, please don't think I'm one of the irresponsible kids thinking "durr, imma blast him wif MAH LAZAR AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!1!"

If this thread is in any way a violation of the rules, let me know and I'll remove it immediately.


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Last edited by AllanJH; 07-07-2012 at 05:49 AM. Reason: Found other discussions of similar topics
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:51 AM #2
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

You might try reading this thread, Do you carry your laser as self defense at night?
It will give you some answers and opinions instead of starting the debate all over again.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:01 AM #3
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

This subject has been played through so many times.

End message: if you're going to defend yourself, don't waste your time with toy-class self-defense weaponry (like tazers or lasers). Buy a gun and use lethal force, because that's what is going to be used against you.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:14 PM #4
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

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Originally Posted by Bionic-Badger View Post
This subject has been played through so many times.

End message: if you're going to defend yourself, don't waste your time with toy-class self-defense weaponry (like tazers or lasers). Buy a gun and use lethal force, because that's what is going to be used against you.
I agree. The scenario where you get out your laser in a dangerous situation, flash-blind your attacker, and get away all thanks to your laser seems silly.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:42 AM #5
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

In any case, legal issues aside, a 445nm blue does not flashblind. It poses ocular damage hazard then glare hazard, but does not have a safe flashblind distance---see thumbnail chart

532nm green does flash blind .
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:10 AM #6
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

That's a really neat chart there I've never seen that before. Where is it from?
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:27 PM #7
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

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Originally Posted by TheDukeAnumber1 View Post
That's a really neat chart there I've never seen that before. Where is it from?
If interested there are several theads on this web site ---just use do a LPF web site search or you can learn more here: Laser Pointer Safety - Different lasers' hazards compared

Basically blue can not be seen as well as green and the flashblindness distance calculation works out to be less distant than the NOHD(Nonimal Ocular Hazard Distance)

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Old 07-10-2012, 05:18 PM #8
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

I've been to that site before and reference it when I have laser law questions but from my own personal experience I've unfortunately been flash blinded for a few seconds by the reflected beam off of window glass from a 445nm.

And the more I think about it the more I'm thinking lasers can be a practical self defense deterrent to those responsible enough to handle one.

Personally I'm not fond of handguns because their main purpose is for shooting people, and I often carry a knife but don't like the thought of cutting someone. A laser can fill the nitch for those who want to carry non-lethal deterrents if they are threatened. They can be just as incapacitating as tazers or mace and can be effective from a greater distance.

And distance matters, non-lethal weapons are only going to work if you have the chance to see your attacker coming and can get it out in time, and if your would be attacher has a knife, carrying a laser and a knife might be an ok option, if you get jumped or they have a gun, your screwed either way.

In summary there is at least some logic to carrying a laser as a non-lethat deterrent, but the best way to not get into trouble is to avoid it, and like Bionic-Badger, said if you can't, then carry a gun.
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:09 AM #9
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

Dude, just buy a gun.
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:04 AM #10
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

Perhaps the OP is not of legal age to possess a firearm. Here in Pennsylvania there are some strict laws against firearms. Mainly pistols. An individual cannot legally purchase a rifle until age 18 and the individual must undergo a background check.

If an individual has been charged previously with a felony. He/she may NOT legally purchase/own a firearm. Perhaps the OP is an ex criminal?

Also here in Pennsylvania an individual may not purchase/carry a pistol under the age of 21 and may NOT carry a pistol without a carry permit.

So maybe the OP is in a similar situation as I posted above.

My opinion about this is if someone attacks you. I'd think a laser would be a viable means to stun/get away from an attacker. I suppose it really depends on his area and what the laws are.

I'd think it would not be legal to flash blind someone in Australia or a similar country where laser pointers above 1mw are illegal to purchase or here in the US where you cannot purchase lasers above 5mw.

So again. I'd suspect it would REALLY depend on the situation and area of the incident.

I'm not going to suggest anything as there are already threads for that. So I thought I'd submit my own opinion directed toward the question
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:24 AM #11
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

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If an individual has been charged previously with a felony. He/she may NOT legally purchase/own a firearm.
Interesting, just charged or convicted of?

My own thoughts on the subject were already expressed in the other thread.

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Old 07-11-2012, 03:32 AM #12
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

Here in Pennsylvania you may not possess/buy a firearm if you were charged with a felony period. Also purchasing a firearm for a felon can land you 2 years in prison.
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:37 AM #13
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

That seems very odd to me. I mean charges are dropped all the time, people are acquitted. I was under the impression that PA had more common sense laws where gun ownership is concerned. Guess not
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:53 AM #14
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

Firearm rules are different everywhere you go. Here you can have a carry & conceal permit. However carry and conceal do not mean what they read. For example. You may openly carry and conceal your firearm here in Pennsylvania. However some private communities do not permit firearms to be "carried nor concealed". A buddy of mine had some issues with the police when he was openly carrying his Glock near a public swimming area. The police were called and the officer explained to him abouw what I just told you. So the laws here can be a bit misleading and skewed at times and can cause minor problems/annoyances.

Here the laws DO allow a felon to carry ONLY off his records are exponged (scuse the spell in). Though some felonies and other violent crimes cannot be wiped away.

Some states require juveniles records have the following: expongment, sealed, destroyed. (Certain crimes DO stay with you in certain states)

Here in Pennsylvania they don't allow for juveniles to have their records sealed/disposed of.

Which is why I always tell people (check your laws)

Even so some law enforcement personal don't understand the law or make their own rules. As we have seen here with laser confiscations. There's no fighting the law enforcement on what we think/know is right. It usually ends up causing more problems AND makes you look even MORE guilty. Though there are some things that should be fought
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:43 PM #15
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

I was pissed at my neighbor's friend who sped up and down our private road despite complaints. One night after he blew by my house I hit his side mirror w/my 100mw greenie from 100 yds or so and my neighbor said that the guy had to sit there for 30 seconds or so before he could see well enough to drive. So I suppose any advantage is better than none and if someone was in your face a couple passes across the eyes might provide an opportunity to skedaddle on outta there...

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Old 07-19-2012, 06:14 PM #16
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Default Re: Legality of laser for self-defense/deterrent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by secondmendment View Post
I was pissed at my neighbor's friend who sped up and down our private road despite complaints. One night after he blew by my house I hit his side mirror w/my 100mw greenie from 100 yds or so and my neighbor said that the guy had to sit there for 30 seconds or so before he could see well enough to drive. So I suppose any advantage is better than none and if someone was in your face a couple passes across the eyes might provide an opportunity to skedaddle on outta there...
Careful now, he's in the wrong by speeding like that but so are you by flash blinding him with a 100mw green.
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