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Actual Laser Laws by Country

Grix

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EDIT: A lot have happened since I made this thread three years ago. It is now illegal to operate or own lasers class 3b (in some places 3a) or above in almost every country. Be safe, never use your lasers in public and keep them unavailable from safety-ignorant friends and family.


Safety and legal status is one of the most important topics on this forum, yet there is much debate and confusion on what are the actual laws regarding lasers, especially with newer members. I made this thread to clear up that confusion and to make it easier for everyone to know the facts.

I have mostly copied this from wikipedia, so there might be errors/outdated info. Feel free to post info about laws in your own country or to confirm the laws of -/add laws to an existing country.



LASER CLASSES

CLASS I (1) LASERS: Class I lasers are low-powered and do not emit hazardous radiation under normal operating conditions because they are completely enclosed.

CLASS II (2) LASERS: Class II lasers are lasers that emit accessible visible laser light with power levels less than 1 mW that normally would not produce a hazard if viewed for only momentary periods with the unaided eye.

CLASS IIIa (3A) LASERS: Class IIIa lasers are systems with power levels of 1 to 5 mW that normally would not produce a hazard if viewed for only momentary periods with the unaided eye.

CLASS IIIb (3B) LASERS: Class IIIb lasers are systems with power levels of 5 mW to 500 mW for continuous wave lasers or less than 10 J/cm² for a 0.25 s pulsed laser. These lasers will produce an eye hazard if viewed directly.

CLASS IV (4) LASERS: Class IV lasers are systems with power levels greater than 500 mW for continuous wave lasers or greater than 10 J/cm² for a 0.25 s pulsed laser. These lasers will produce eye, skin and fire hazards.




LAWS BY COUNTRY


!! Pointing a laser at a vehicle, plane, boat, another person, animal and otherwise dangerous actions are illegal and punishable in every country. !!


Australia

In Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory, a laser pointer with an accessible emission limit greater than 1 mW is classified as a prohibited weapon and any sale of such items must be recorded. In Western Australia, regulatory changes have classified laser pointers as controlled weapons and demonstration of a lawful reason for possession is required. Also The State Government has banned as of 2000 the manufacture, sale and possession of laser pointers higher than class 2. In New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, the product safety standard for laser pointers prescribes that they must be a Class 1 or a Class 2 laser product.

NB: I've been told you do not need a permit if you are a member of an approved astronomy organisation or if you own a weapon permit.

Canada

No regulations controlling the importation and sale of laser pointers have been established in Canada to date, except for the federal regulation that manufacturers comply with the Radiation Emitting Devices Act.

United Kingdom

UK and most of Europe are now harmonized on Class 2 (<1 mW) for General presentation use laser pointers or laser pens. There are no specific UK laws relating to laser pointers; however, Health and Safety regulation insists on use of Class 2 anywhere the public can come in contact with laser light, and the DTI have urged Trading Standards authorities to use their existing powers under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 to remove lasers above class 2 from the general market.

United States

Laser pointers are defined as Class II or Class IIIa devices, with output beam power less than 5 milliwatts (<5 mW). According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, more powerful lasers may not be sold or promoted as laser pointers. Also, any laser with class higher than IIIa (more than 5 milliwatts) requires a key-switch interlock and other safety features.

LOCAL LAWS MAY VARY. PLEASE CHECK YOUR STATE'S LAWS.

All laser products offered in commerce in the US must be registered with the FDA, regardless of output power.

Europe

Laws in Europe vary greatly, please check your local country's laws. But most countries do now or will in the near future ban Class 3A and above pointers.

South Korea

Only lasers class II or lower are permitted. No lasers are allowed for children.

Singapore

A license is required for operating high powered lasers (over class 3b).
See www.nea.gov.sg/cms/nst/doc/LaserRadiationNotes.doc
 
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Morgan

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Nice thread Grix. Simple and concise. This is just what some people will come here looking for. I'd sticky it once any suggested tweaks are made and the info is confirmed. I certainly see nothing wrong with the UK laws. (Except a missing, "T", from the last word. ;) )

:gj:+1 [EDIT: Rep doesn't seem to be working right now. I'll come back to this Grix]

[EDIT2: I can't edit spelling errors but the Rep is given regardless!]

M
:)
 
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Glad i am in Canada :)

if i laze the sky like moon or the stars (no aircraft/plane) and a police come, are they legally be able to seize my pointer and give me a fine? i had a few close call...
 
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LaserFerret

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stickyy ittttt

looks like just the thread to be stickied

I'm glad the U.S doesn't have ridiculous laws that restrict lasers too much (like australia).. yet... you know how government works here it won't last for long. Enjoy it while you can.
 

bobhaha

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Great thread, great info! Thanks

+1 rep!! :gj:
 

loosekannonn

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I actually had a Cop come to my aid tonight brought on by my 5mW green laser site.

I was on the beach at Port Dalhousie on Lake Ontario.
Shining my laser out into the lake to see how far out I could still see the beam;
so unless you are a fish in Lake Ontario there was nothing to worry about.
actually if your a fish, just being in Lake Ontario is usually enough to worry about.

then I hear from behind me...

"Hey Asshole, fucking green lasers are fucking illegal!"

seems drunk college muscle head doesn't like lasers, and was trying to impress the young hotty in the belt sized mini so I ignore him and mind my own business.

"Hey, asshole I'm fucking talking to you, enough with the laser or I'm going to shove it up your fucking ass!"

I turn and say to the girl "Like the attitude? Same one most wife beaters have."
She was already giving the muscle head dirty looks and trying to leave...

Muscle head started to walk straight at me, cracking his knuckles, punching his fist into his other hand trying to scare me i guess.

That's when the Mag-lite beam hit muscle head right in the face and the cops that foot patrol the beach during all weekends take him down, put him up against a near by building and start talking, then yelling at muscle head.

seems he didn't know that what he said and actively acting on a threat of violence in Canada can get you free room and board for 4 years as a guest of the Province.

one Cop wanted to know where I got the Laser Gun Site;
because he wants one for his hunting rifle.

fun and games in St.Catharines.

I'm just lucky the cop didn't see the knife I had in my hand when the guy was storming at me.
 

goninanbl00d

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+1 Rep. Useful thread is useful.:bowdown:



In New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, the product safety standard for laser pointers prescribes that they must be a Class 1 or a Class 2 laser product.

Class 1? I lol'd.:wtf:
 

goninanbl00d

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There is no typo. The legislation actually says the laser pointer must be either a Class I or II laser device.

:thinking:

I dunno about their logic, but it doesn't work with mine.
 

goninanbl00d

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Laser Pointers - Questions and Answers - NSW Police Online

F*cking laws are ridiculous.

Any handheld battery powered laser capable of emitting a beam greater than 1mW is considered a prohibited weapon, and it is illegal to posess, import or sell them.

It is also illegal to carry or use a laser pointer of any power in public, and police have the right to search you if they believe you are carrying a laser pointer. The maximum penalty is $5500.

In other words, if I carry an Nd:YAG SSY-1 taped to a battery, I'm breaking several laws and can be fined $5500. Well, that's what the law says. Sorry, but that battery, capacitor, flashbulb and ruby rod held together with duct tape is illegal too.

If you want to own a 'laser pointer', then you have to get a permit. That's $127 for 5 years. I've got better things to do with that money.

Now- why couldn't they do what the US did with the accession numbers for real handheld lasers- now, I doubt some idiot's gonna cough up $200 or so for a PGL-III-C, now are they?

No, the government really didn't give a shit- like they did with their gun control laws- and just chucked a blanket ban over the whole mess.

Put it this way- do ya think any of us on here would go out there fucking around with a PGL? Maybe? No? You'd think that they'd be at least reasonable with what sort of laser you can get.

I'm also dead sure that the sort of asshat idiot that would do such a stupid thing wouldn't actually pay for a quality laser from CNI or Viasho, with all the compliant safety features only to shine it at cockpits or planes. Now- I doubt anyone who would want a proper handheld laser would do stupid and reckless things with it.

/rant.
 

Grix

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There is no typo. The legislation actually says the laser pointer must be either a Class I or II laser device.

:thinking:

I dunno about their logic, but it doesn't work with mine.
I was talking about the missing "t" from market as Morgan pointed out :)
 

Arayan

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in Italy is banned, except that for professional uses, any laser pointer in class 3 and over (that means, you can own or buy class 1, 2 and 2b devices, like 1 or 2 mW) :( :(
BTW very usefull thread:topic:
 




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