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Are lasers illegal in the US?

VLC18

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I bought two lasers from sanwu (1w 445nm and 100mw 492nm) and a question popped into my head. Are these legal? I looked it up and it said only if advertised as a pointer. They don’t advertise it as such but I’m still just wondering.
 



julianthedragon

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From laserpointersafety.com :
"In the U.S., it is legal under federal law to own a laser of any power. But often people talk about “illegal laser pointers”. This is somewhat confusing shorthand meaning that the manufacturer or seller illegally called a laser above 5 milliwatts a “pointer”, or illegally promoted it for pointing purposes."
"If a laser over 5 mW is called a “pointer” or is sold for pointing purposes, the person doing the illegal action is the manufacturer or seller."

So no the lasers themselves are not illegal to own, but the selling of lasers above 5mw without proper following of regulations is technically illegal. Since most companies US consumers buy high powered lasers from are based internationally/in China, it's up to the company whether they care about this or not. I haven't looked into this but I would assume the worst that could happen is the FDA/US government blocks imports from that company if they are caught since the US can't enforce their laws in another country. Certain companies send lasers/laser parts unlabeled or mislabeled to circumvent these laws; I've gotten packages labeled telescope parts, fountain pen, etc. Other companies like Laserglow and Wickedlasers are more transparent but therefore have to keep the power of lasers shipped to the US below the legal limit of 5mw.

Also using a 1W laser becomes highly illegal if you point it at a plane, for example. Even pointing it in the sky for a prolonged time is a legal gray area. And all it takes is one neighbor to report you for being obnoxious with it and there's definitely some non-laser-specific law that they could get you with. But in general you're good, as long as you use it intelligently there's nothing to worry about.

Sick lasers btw what hosts did you choose? I have a 160mw 492nm Challenger II that I reviewed here and I'm very satisfied
 

Buert

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Apr 21, 2021
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Yes, That's because if they don't meet the manufacturing and marketing standard
 

bostjan

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Dec 29, 2011
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Owning a laser is not illegal in the USA. I.e., there is no law against it.

What you do with a laser; however, could be an infraction, misdemeanor, or even a felony. All of the details are highly dependent on the state, county, or city/town laws in place. For example, I am not aware of any laws in my state that mention lasers in any way, but federal law strictly prohibits pointing a laser at a vehicle. In Michigan, harassing someone with a laser can land you in prison for 5 years. In Oklahoma, it's a $100 fine (for the first offense)

So, simply put, don't be a jerk or an idiot and you won't have to worry about it.
 

VLC18

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2021
Messages
34
Points
8
From laserpointersafety.com :
"In the U.S., it is legal under federal law to own a laser of any power. But often people talk about “illegal laser pointers”. This is somewhat confusing shorthand meaning that the manufacturer or seller illegally called a laser above 5 milliwatts a “pointer”, or illegally promoted it for pointing purposes."
"If a laser over 5 mW is called a “pointer” or is sold for pointing purposes, the person doing the illegal action is the manufacturer or seller."

So no the lasers themselves are not illegal to own, but the selling of lasers above 5mw without proper following of regulations is technically illegal. Since most companies US consumers buy high powered lasers from are based internationally/in China, it's up to the company whether they care about this or not. I haven't looked into this but I would assume the worst that could happen is the FDA/US government blocks imports from that company if they are caught since the US can't enforce their laws in another country. Certain companies send lasers/laser parts unlabeled or mislabeled to circumvent these laws; I've gotten packages labeled telescope parts, fountain pen, etc. Other companies like Laserglow and Wickedlasers are more transparent but therefore have to keep the power of lasers shipped to the US below the legal limit of 5mw.

Also using a 1W laser becomes highly illegal if you point it at a plane, for example. Even pointing it in the sky for a prolonged time is a legal gray area. And all it takes is one neighbor to report you for being obnoxious with it and there's definitely some non-laser-specific law that they could get you with. But in general you're good, as long as you use it intelligently there's nothing to worry about.

Sick lasers btw what hosts did you choose? I have a 160mw 492nm Challenger II that I reviewed here and I'm very satisfied
Hey sry for the late reply but I chose the pocket laser for the 492 bm and the stanless steel extended heat sync in the guardian for the 445nm. Sweet review! My next laser I want the 1.6w 525nm silver series laser. That thing is a beast!
 




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