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Australia to ban laser pointers

Australia to ban laser pointers

While pocket models can't beat Washington University's 40W model, NSW officials still rate them as dangerous.

Any Australian gadget freaks reading this may want to think twice before showing off their new laser pointers in the new purchases thread – at least if they live in New South Wales.

According to several Australian news agencies – News.com.au and The Sydney Morning Herald to name but two – the state has officially banned high-powered laser pointers – specifically, classes three and four – classifying them as 'prohibited weapons' – the same category as firearms. Anyone found carrying such a laser pointer in public without the Australian equivalent of a Firearms Certificate will be guilty of an offence punishable by up to fourteen years imprisonment. Even if you've only got a weedy little keychain unit, you'll still find yourself up on summary charges if you can't think of a good reason for having it with you in a public place.

The move appears to have been triggered by a rash of 'attacks' on aircraft, with misguided individuals allegedly shining high-powered lasers at low-flying helicopters and planes in an attempt to blind the pilots. The New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma describes the most recent of these incidents, in which an air ambulance was targetted over Sydney, as “a gutless and cowardly act that could result in an horrific outcome,” while stating that “it only takes a fraction of a second for a pilot to become temporarily blinded” by such a device.

Although Western Australia has already banned the devices, the consequences of being caught with a class three laser on or about your person in a public place in New South Wales are a lot greater – fourteen years compared to just twelve months in Western Australia.

Any geeks out there in the Antipodes having to arrange a hiding place for their star-pointer lasers, or have we all moved on from thinking pocket-sized coherent light generators are neat-o? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

31 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
MiNiMaL_FuSS 22nd April 2008, 09:05 Quote
Laser pointers are still abaout? I honestly havn't seen one for a couple of years now!

Anyway, losing the right to carry them seems fair came if people are misusing them so blatently. Although how can you possibly get the angle to shine a laser pen into a plane? surely the nose would stop it reaching the windscreen?
Almightyrastus 22nd April 2008, 09:52 Quote
do people really think that this is going to have an effect on the people who are using them for already illegal means? It is the same as banning any 'weapon', those who are already law abiding people will get rid of them or license them if they still need them. Those who are pointing them at divers/planes and the likes are hardly going to be the sort of people who will see this new law and think 'eek, must hand them in now they are illegal' and incedents such as described will continue to happen.

We have seen it over here with things like the pistol ban and the violent crime reduction bill.

What is needed is existing laws to be implemented fully and punishments given that fit the crime rather than the watered down slap on the wrists we see now.
bowman 22nd April 2008, 10:15 Quote
Lawmakers go for the tools, rather than the people who use the tools. Just like banning knives, guns, whatnot, crime is unaffected.

Besides, I highly doubt these lasers are a real public safety issue in the first place. Probably trying to score points by being 'tough on youth', 'tough on hooliganism and vandalism', etc. Election coming up, they need to play more theater for the masses of sheep.
BurningFeetMan 22nd April 2008, 10:30 Quote
But unlike guns, lasers have a constructive positive use in every day life. From construction to astronomy, some people need them. But as usual, one bad egg spoils 375,000 dozen, and the Labor government is right on top of things with a bandaid solution.
DXR_13KE 22nd April 2008, 11:04 Quote
Australia loves the bandwagon..... really, if i want to down a airplane with a laser then you are a criminal and you wont care about the 14 years in jail, hell i can down a airplane with a gun if i want, i could buy a RPG unit from the soviets and shoot stuff like in GTA and then Australia would go out and ban GTA.... and contrary to guns, lasers are useful.

edit: several people start attacking people with table forks..... LETS BAN FORKS!!!!!!!
bowman 22nd April 2008, 11:23 Quote
I'm sorry? Guns are perfectly legitimate useful tools for the ordinary citizen as well.

http://www.a-human-right.com/
dom_ 22nd April 2008, 12:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman
I'm sorry? Guns are perfectly legitimate useful tools for the ordinary citizen as well.

http://www.a-human-right.com/

That site is hilarious
jezmck 22nd April 2008, 12:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman
I'm sorry? Guns are perfectly legitimate useful tools for the ordinary citizen as well....
Weapon != Tool
Nexxo 22nd April 2008, 13:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Almightyrastus
do people really think that this is going to have an effect on the people who are using them for already illegal means? It is the same as banning any 'weapon', those who are already law abiding people will get rid of them or license them if they still need them. Those who are pointing them at divers/planes and the likes are hardly going to be the sort of people who will see this new law and think 'eek, must hand them in now they are illegal' and incedents such as described will continue to happen.

We have seen it over here with things like the pistol ban and the violent crime reduction bill.

What is needed is existing laws to be implemented fully and punishments given that fit the crime rather than the watered down slap on the wrists we see now.

It is about reducing the availability of means to the 'casual' ****, rather than the hard-core criminal who, who let's be honest, has got business crime to be getting on with rather than trying to blind some bus drivers or ambulance chopper pilots for kicks.

The same applies to guns. Gun bans do not disarm hard-core criminals, but they do disarm the occasional disaffected nutter student who wants to go postal on his peers, the drunk neighbour who wants to have it out with you over some petty dispute, or the inadequate wife beater who can't quite accept his ex leaving him.

The added bonus is that if your do catch a hard-core criminal carrying a gun, you can arrest him outright rather than wait to see how he is going to exercise his right to bear arms.

There is no point clamouring for more effective application of the law and stricter punishment, if you give the police no laws to work within in the first place.
Almightyrastus 22nd April 2008, 13:29 Quote
Arresting and charging the criminals is not the problem, they can and do get caught. The problem is that the punishments given are not a deterrant. For example, getting caught with a pistol here in the UK warrents a minimum of a 5 year sentance, we hear stories of people getting away with 1 or 2 years and a slap on the wrist. Flat out banning of anything is never going to be the way forward as it only hurts those who are law abiding,

I get your point about the casual man in the street obtaining something in the heat of passion, so to say. This is what our pistol ban and violent crime reduction (VCR) bill was designed to stop. Gun crime has continued to rise and will do so until the existing laws we have (and have had for a loooong time) are enforced properly in the courts.

Sorry for the rants but as an airgun shooter and knife collector, this is a subject very close to me.
speedfreek 22nd April 2008, 13:46 Quote
Wasn't NSW the same place that can ticket you just for having a car that looks like it broke the law previously. "That car looks fast. Lock him up boys." That or the thing that if any of your tires loose traction they can bust you on that, I understand that they don't get the snow that I am used to but its not uncommon for the drive wheels to do their own thing no matter how careful you are in a good snowstorm.

The last time I saw a laser pointer used or the last several times was when the teacher pointed something out on the board while staying out of the way so we could copy it down. He has one of those ridiculously bright green ones that probably could bring down a plane.
HitmanAdski 22nd April 2008, 14:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNiMaL_FuSS
Laser pointers are still abaout? I honestly havn't seen one for a couple of years now!

Anyway, losing the right to carry them seems fair came if people are misusing them so blatently. Although how can you possibly get the angle to shine a laser pen into a plane? surely the nose would stop it reaching the windscreen?

Apparently you can get sniper like lasers, and they are very precise. However you do need them for some work places. They won't take the high powered lasers away from Astronomers or Road workers just like they didn't with guns and the police. I would rather see a ban on these lasers then have 110 passengers or 416 passengers die as a result of so called "fun", take in mind that these people aren't doing it whilst the planes are thousands of feet in the air but meters from landing, that's hoq they can aim in the slits.
1ad7 22nd April 2008, 15:49 Quote
The idiots doing this still will, one of them will be locked up in the next year but 100 people will try this now that its been mentioned. Criminals already bought there illegal guns and now its hard for the guy whos about to get robbed to get one, more guns not less.
Redbeaver 22nd April 2008, 16:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman
I'm sorry? Guns are perfectly legitimate useful tools for the ordinary citizen as well.

http://www.a-human-right.com/

i had to chuckle when i visit that site.

just curious tho, does the author ever kill a man before?
Thacrudd 22nd April 2008, 18:25 Quote
laser pointers are annoying when in the hands of someone who is not using them properly. Ever been to a concert? Little red dots flying around is nothing but childish. Who cares if they get banned? If you use them at school or work, get a permit. It couldn't be that hard and it would only take a bit of your time. If you are energetic enough to bitch about not being able to carry it with you, you are energetic enough to go get a permit. Laws are in place to help everyone (even though some are a bit extreme). Look at this laser
dylAndroid 22nd April 2008, 20:48 Quote
I like how the article makes it sound like people are running around using class 4 lasers as laser pointers. Class 4 being the kind of laser can burn skin, may permanently blind you on an indirect hit, and set things on fire.
Nexxo 22nd April 2008, 21:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Almightyrastus
Arresting and charging the criminals is not the problem, they can and do get caught. The problem is that the punishments given are not a deterrant. For example, getting caught with a pistol here in the UK warrents a minimum of a 5 year sentance, we hear stories of people getting away with 1 or 2 years and a slap on the wrist. Flat out banning of anything is never going to be the way forward as it only hurts those who are law abiding,

I get your point about the casual man in the street obtaining something in the heat of passion, so to say. This is what our pistol ban and violent crime reduction (VCR) bill was designed to stop. Gun crime has continued to rise and will do so until the existing laws we have (and have had for a loooong time) are enforced properly in the courts.
Scientific research has shown that making guns less available to the general public also makes them less available to the criminal (where do you think most illegal guns start out?), and reduces gun crime. Fact, sorry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ad7
Criminals already bought there illegal guns and now its hard for the guy whos about to get robbed to get one, more guns not less.
That's just what would make me feel safer. People like yourself carrying a gun. :p
The_Beast 22nd April 2008, 22:01 Quote
This ban is pretty dumb
Sh00ter 23rd April 2008, 08:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo

Scientific research has shown that making guns less available to the general public also makes them less available to the criminal (where do you think most illegal guns start out?), and reduces gun crime. Fact, sorry.

im afraid you wrong there, that study just proves that the influx of new weapons to the criminals slows when the price of weapons rises.

the claim that it is "fact" as you say that making firearms less available = reduction in gun crime is also wrong. year on year since the handgun ban, firearms offences have risen.

anywhos, if they catch anyone trying to blind a helicopter pilot then they should treat it as attempted murder imo
Nexxo 23rd April 2008, 12:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sh00ter
im afraid you wrong there, that study just proves that the influx of new weapons to the criminals slows when the price of weapons rises.
Increase in price = lower availability to the public. Or do you see people drive as many Porsches as Fords? Making weapons more expensive makes them less available to the garden-variety punk-ass criminal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sh00ter
the claim that it is "fact" as you say that making firearms less available = reduction in gun crime is also wrong. year on year since the handgun ban, firearms offences have risen.
Incorrect. While the number of crimes involving firearms in England and Wales increased from 13,874 in 1998/99 to 24,070 in 2002/03, they remained relatively static at 24,094 in 2003/04, and have since fallen to 21,521 in 2005/06.

Meanwhile, the US has by far the highest rate of school shootings of any country (about 34 out of 45 school shootings over the last decade occurred in the US). It also has the most easy access to firearms.
Sh00ter 23rd April 2008, 15:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Increase in price = lower availability to the public. Or do you see people drive as many Porsches as Fords? Making weapons more expensive makes them less available to the garden-variety punk-ass criminal.
your point was that the availablilty lessens with increase of price - im just saying you are wrong, the availability doesnt change with cost, just the preferable source.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Incorrect. While the number of crimes involving firearms in England and Wales increased from 13,874 in 1998/99 to 24,070 in 2002/03, they remained relatively static at 24,094 in 2003/04, and have since fallen to 21,521 in 2005/06.

the effects of the ban directly after 97 equalled a huge increase in firearms related crime, almost double by your own figures - the fact that in the last couple of years there has been a drop is solely down to the increased policing of the issue and a drop in airgun usage - illegal firearm use still increased during that period (albeit a very low 0.1% increase)

so year on year since the handgun ban there has been an increase in firearm crime
Nexxo 23rd April 2008, 18:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sh00ter
your point was that the availablilty lessens with increase of price - im just saying you are wrong, the availability doesnt change with cost, just the preferable source.
The illegal supply is dependent on the legal supply. If anything, more expensive legal guns = even more expensive illegal guns.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sh00ter
the effects of the ban directly after 97 equalled a huge increase in firearms related crime, almost double by your own figures...

Whoa now. Are you suggesting that banning guns resulted in an increase in gun crime? Care to explain that one?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sh00ter
- the fact that in the last couple of years there has been a drop is solely down to the increased policing of the issue and a drop in airgun usage - illegal firearm use still increased during that period (albeit a very low 0.1% increase)

so year on year since the handgun ban there has been an increase in firearm crime
Depends on how you choose to read the figures (0.1% increase is not exactly statistically significant). The figures I mentioned include 3,275 crimes involving imitation firearms and 10,437 involving air weapons, compared to 566 and 8,665 respectively in 1998/99.

This means that of the 13,874 crimes in 1998/99, 9231 (67%) involved imitation or air guns, and 4643 (33%) real, hard firearms.
Of the 21,521 crimes in 2005/06, 13721 (64%) involved imitation or air guns, and 7809 (36%) real, hard firearms.

That would tell me that imitation/airguns increased a bit during that period (or arguably, stayed roughly stable), rather than dropped as you suggest. Only those "firearms" positively identified as being imitations or air weapons (e.g. by being recovered by the police or by being fired) are classed as such, so the actual numbers are likely to be higher.

Since 1998, the number of people injured by firearms in England and Wales increased by 110%, from 2,378 in 1998/99 to 5,001 in 2005/06. But the number of homicides committed with firearms has remained between a range of 46 and 97 for the past decade, standing at 50 in 2005/06 --a fall from 75 the previous year.

I think that you also have to consider the alternative. What do you suggest: un-ban firearms? We are seeing how well that is working out for the US. I do not think that it is going to reduce gun crime. The idea that criminals will be more careful if they know that there is a reasonable possibility that their potential victim is armed is a fallacy --they just get bigger guns. They simply escalate. They are the one with the mindset and predisposition to do violence.

What we are seeing around us is a society that, by and large, fails to meet its adult responsibilities time and again. People drive recklessly and engage in road rage. They get drunk and get into fights on Friday nights. They run up massive financial debts. Sexually transmitted disease is on the up again. Parents fail to parent their kids appropriately. Give people laser pointers, and they appear to use them to blind drivers and pilots for kicks. Should we give them access to firearms too? I think not.
DXR_13KE 23rd April 2008, 18:37 Quote
i am of the same opinion as you Nexxo.... but it seams that there is a place in the USA were they have made people guy guns and crime dropped... it appears that the robbers don't want to enter a house thinking there is a shotgun in there....

it has some logic... but it wont happen the same way everywhere...
completemadness 23rd April 2008, 21:19 Quote
The USA has had guns for a long time (or forever, I'm not exactly sure), If us Brits were suddenly allowed guns, i can see a lot of problems

Then again, anything that would lower the chav population can only be a positive thing :p
DXR_13KE 24th April 2008, 09:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
Then again, anything that would lower the chav population can only be a positive thing :p

or a negative... imagine chavs with guns.
completemadness 24th April 2008, 16:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
or a negative... imagine chavs with guns.
they'd probably get them the wrong way round and shoot themselves :p
DXR_13KE 24th April 2008, 18:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
they'd probably get them the wrong way round and shoot themselves :p

good point!
chloeelvis 29th June 2010, 08:32 Quote
it's quite right to ban high power laser pointer, it's dangerous to use.
hicklespickle 7th November 2012, 15:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chloeelvis
it's quite right to ban high power laser pointer, it's dangerous to use.

They should only ban the laser pointers that are bright enough to cause eye damage.
jezmck 9th November 2012, 18:24 Quote
2 and a half years!

Welcome to forums anyway :D
theshadow2001 9th November 2012, 18:56 Quote
It seems to be an incredibly simplistic and clunky way to try and put a law around the act of shining lasers at aircraft. Obviously this class of laser has genuine applications. Instead of trying to regulate their import, license their sale and distribution and bolstering sentences on interfering with the operation of an aircraft, they have been lobbed in with fire arms. Scientists and the like now have to apply for fire arm license to get the tools that they need. It's just genius. The approach (if it is indeed true as I haven't bothered to fact check the story) is truly moronic.

EDIT: OOPS THE THREAD IS FROM 2008!
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