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Old 11-08-2007, 01:07 PM #1
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Default Are there laws governing use of lasers?

If so, what are they? Does anyone have a link to list of laws?

For instance, if I am lasing a stop sign with someone approaching, is that illegal? If a small plane is flying overhead at night and I illuminate his wing, is that illegal?

It's fine to use common sense, and I would. But the actual law is what's gonna determine whether a lasing incident is punishable or not. As the cops will always tell you, "ignorance is no excuse", so what's the law on lasing?

thanks


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Old 11-08-2007, 01:17 PM #2
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

depends on where you live. Generally vehicles, ( planes, cars, busses whatever ) are illegal to lase. Lasering a cop is also generally illegal.

There may be other laws, but most of them are never enforced.
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:18 PM #3
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

There are laws concerning over the horizon laser operation. Basically, like a gun you have to know what is in the line of fire. If it contains a person or moves don't lase it. Your local constabulary may have no laws on the books about shining a laser at a stop sign but you can bet that if they receive complaints you will get charged with a non-descriptive crime such as reckless endangerment. Furthermore, using a class IIIb or IV laser without proper beam control and termination can get you a visit from the ATF or FDA culminating in federal charges. If a laser is used like a weapon, i.e. shining it at someones eyes, you can expect a weapons level charge.

Laser systems are regulated. Because they are regulated the FDA is always evaluating it's laws based on field complaints and injuries. Many at the FDA are not keen to high powered pens and portables because people have done stupid things with them and play with them like toys. As a result the FDA has issued a number of circulars regarding portables and what actually defines a portable. This is the first step to restriction. People who keep up the idiocy will find portables and pens illegal to own.
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:59 PM #4
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrothyChimp
There are laws .........people have done stupid things with them and play with them like toys. As a result the FDA has issued a number of circulars regarding portables and what actually defines a portable. This is the first step to restriction. People who keep up the idiocy will find portables and pens illegal to own.

Nice post, thanks.

Yes, I understand that people would do stupid things. I am 55 years old, so I am not gonna run around like a maniac. But if you had given one of these to me when I was 14 years old, then whoaaaaa. I probably would have been doing "stupid things".

I am, quite frankly, VERY surprised that these items can be purchased and used by anyone, with no age or background checking requirements. I can agree that it MAY be OK to give a young lad a 5mw laser, but anything that can damage another persons eyes should be sold with some restrictions. This is coming from a guy who is a firm believer in the Second Amendment (right to bear arms).

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Old 11-09-2007, 12:36 AM #5
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

I was playing with my 200mw red(assumed power level) outside and shining it at mountains. They were right behind the city. I was using it in the ghetto area of town near a clear spot. After ten minutes of laser fun, 2 security cars drove around the streets looking for the lasers location. By then, I already had put it away and was on myway home. It made me kinda nervous, but they never found out who did it. I didn't even do anything wrong. But they are crazy. I don't think they would have found out anyway. My laser is in a 6volt flashlight lantern. I don't think they would have found out.

Some guy was watching previously, I think he snitched >
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:11 AM #6
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

around here, the cops would think the laser is cool and try to buy it off of me or just take it. they do the same thing with fireworks even though they are illegal in illinois.
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:01 PM #7
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

I don't know if they were cops or not. They were driving 2 dark Blue SUV's and both had spinning and flashing blue lights at the top.

If your lucky, they won't hassle yoiu.

Besides, I don't think that carry around a laser power meter to see if your using yours illegally ;D
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:10 PM #8
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phazonx
...........If your lucky, they won't hassle yoiu.....................

I don't want to depend on "luck". I want to know the law before I start flashing around a laser that could potentially blind someone.

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Old 11-10-2007, 09:56 PM #9
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

Just smething to remember, these lasers can freak people out. Most people are not used to high powered green lasers. They can also piss people off pretty badly if you shine them in people's houses.

For the most part, most of these lasers are indeed illegal to operate/import/own because most of them they don't comply with the FCCs safety regulations. If you are just using them in your own house/property, you should be OK.
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:16 AM #10
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

A simple reply ---

This is AMERICA and don't forget it :-?

Everything you do, say or think is probably against some law somewhere.

Keep your head down and don't do stupid things to attract attention.

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Old 11-11-2007, 01:25 AM #11
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

Laserglow claims all of their lasers are 100% legal in the US. Is that true?

Quote:
Absolutely! All LASERGLOW products are 100% LEGAL in the United States unless clearly and specifically stated otherwise on our product pages. Our handheld Class IIIb lasers incorporate a 5-point safety system which includes an aperture shutter, key switch, indicator LED, interlock, and output delay. We have obtained FDA accession numbers for all of our products to be shipped into the United States.
http://www.laserglow.com/index.php?regulations
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:26 AM #12
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

That's AMERICA

I must say i couldn't find any laws against high powered lasers in Netherland or Europe for that matter.
Nothing written against using or importing them.

HOWEVER : The things i did find were a few court cases about people using high powered lasers above 50mW for weapon usage.
To be more specific, blinding other people on purpose for some reason. In those cases, high powered lasers were treated similar as using knives (which aren't illegal in first place) to stab someone with the purpose of hurting or killing someone.
End result: Those cases ended up with huge fines for the ones causing blindness or damage to eyes of other persons (up tot 50.000 euros).

To sum things up.. yes i agree with hemlock mike, if you know what high powered lasers are capable of, just don't bother other people with it or annoy them.. and don't attract attention of law keepers. use them wisely . (like you would do with knives)

My 2 cents (*euro cents that is )
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Old 11-11-2007, 02:07 AM #13
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

I think the key here is making sure nobody sees you playing with it. *Like me, someone snithed cause I was shining it around the place. *It makes me mad because it wasn't any of that persons business. *People are scared that everyone is out to get them and kill people. *

I'm sure everyone here likes to play with something dangerous (fire, pneumatic cannons, archery, rifles, fireworks.) *

But a laser is way less dangerous. *Because these little dvd and green lasers can't cause nearly as much damage as those things previously listed.


But the legal limit in the US is 5mw.
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:17 AM #14
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phazonx

But the legal limit in the US is 5mw.

5mW? Where did you come up with that? I sell lasers in the hundreds of watts. As long as the system has the required safety systems (beam aperture shutter, on/off switch/ emission indicator light, remote interlock, beam on delay, and key switch) they can be purchased by anyone with the cash. These are not sold to individuals, however, because most individuals do not have 440 volt 3-phase power service to their homes. If they do, I'd be the first to ask why.

With all due respect, it sounds like you are one of the individuals who could ruin things for everyone. Did you contact the FAA to insure clear airspace for your over-the-horizon laser test? Any time you point a laser into the sky you must clear the airspace. You can argue until you are blue in the face but when you arbitrarily fire a laser onto a mountain with no regard or knowledge of what is on that mountain, or in-between, you are in the wrong. Are there people on the mountainside? More than likely no. Will it hurt anyone? No. But you are drawing attention doing something in an uncontrolled manner with a potentially dangerous device and potentially exposing the public to the output of that device. These are the contentions that will be brought against you by the police if you get caught.

You are also right, people can be scared of their own shadows but the elected officials listen to these scared people since they vote. Furthermore, it's not your voice the FDA hears in the complaints it receives.

When you choose to purchase or build a laser or any other system with a hazardous potential you also choose to accept the responsibility for using that system in a manner that will protect primarily the public, and to a lesser degree, yourself, from exposure to the potentially hazardous effects of its use. That is the personal contract you accept. As such, you will be held accountable, regardless of your age, for the results of its use. Lasers were never designed to be fun. They are first and foremost scientific instruments. The fact there is a fun factor associated with them is attached by the enthusiasts. Courts of law do not see the fun factor, they see a scientific instrument being used in a manner for which is was not designed nor intended.

Now don't get me wrong, whether individuals can or cannot possess laser systems doesn't really matter to me. I will still get to play with some pretty powerful systems due to the nature of my business. But there are many responsible laser owners out there who understand that ownership is a privilege, not a right.


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Old 11-11-2007, 01:07 PM #15
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

I see 5 mw limit everywhere on the internet. Somewhere also mentioned anything laser over 5mw exiting your house is illegal.
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Old 11-11-2007, 04:16 PM #16
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Default Re: Are there laws governing use of lasers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrothyChimp
........When you choose to purchase or build a laser or any other system with a hazardous potential you also choose to accept the responsibility for using that system in a manner that will protect primarily the public, and to a lesser degree, yourself, from exposure to the potentially hazardous effects of its use. .......... But there are many responsible laser owners out there who understand that ownership is a privilege, not a right.......
Well stated!


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