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New Colorado bill would create felony for shining laser at aircraft

A new bill moving through the Colorado House would create a state felony charge for anyone caught shining a laser at helicopters or planes. The proposed law would allow local police to investigate and charge laser strike cases involving aircraft, instead of waiting for federal investigators. ( More...

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Ken Lane 9
It's a federal felony for doing so now with penalties up to five years. But, it's not publicized well enough in media.

I've had a laser pointed at me in flight. Not only is it dangerous for the pilot's eyes, I'm seeing a light so close my head has turned like mad looking for what may have been another aircraft near me. That took my attention from the safety of flight and from my student's actions.
Ed Schijf 6
It is unbelievable that there are people in this world who aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. Hope they aim them at their own eyes, that will teach them, they are stupid enough to do it!
WhiteKnight77 3
I have no problem with this as the worst case scenario is always a possibility when the idiots who do such. The problem is actually handing down sentences no matter the outcome. Hopefully, should a worst case scenario happen, the idiots are actually charged with 1st degree murder with the number of charges equal to the number of those who lost their lives.
Donald Schoengold 3
Instead of making it a "minor" felony, the penalty should be that you take the person and shine a high powered laser directly into their eye. Do it on live TV so that any idiot who is thinking of doing it might think twice. I am a firm believer of the line in one of the Gilbert and Sullivan productions - "make the punishment fit the crime".
Jerry Lohman 5
18 U.S. Code § 39A - Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft already has that covered.
David Rice 10
You should read the article before posting. Yes, it is already a Federal crime, but according to the article, the Feds don't have the resources to investigate these incidents. It should be a felony at the state level IN EVERY STATE as well, because state and local law enforcement often have more resources to investigate these incidents.
Jerry Lohman 4
State and local law enforcement has no obligation to enforce Federal law, but do have the authority to do so. Especially when the suspected crime endangers life or serious bodily harm. Do more than read the article.
Jim Allen 1
Honestly, I’m a little “iffy” on the felony tag for a first offense if you’re in your teens- discretion should come into play here.. felony sticks with you and you’re screwed for life. Second offense.. you deserve a felony rap Of course, it depends on the circumstances and you should have mandatory jail time regardless. But yes, investigate and prosecute at the state and local level. Kids and dumb ass adults need to know it’s no joke and more importantly understand why.
srobak 8
I have to disagree. A kid or dumbass adult doesn't know if the aircraft they are pointing at is occupied by one person or hundreds of people - and if it results in a catastrophe or injury of any scale then their age or immaturity absolutely does not matter. Yeah a kid or dumbass adult might have lazed a solo 172 pilot or "just a police chopper" - but if he is hit with a federal felony and it has a lasting impact on his future then you can be damn sure he is going to teach his child not to do what daddy did when he was young n dumb.

Maybe then we can start to correct the path of future generations swirling us all down the drain. It might be a tiny step - but at least it is a step. Accountability for ones actions is something that has fallen massively by the wayside as the generations have passed - and it is LONG overdue for a course reversal.
srobak 0
These can easily be investigated at the local level and then turned over to the feds. They have no problem coming in and jumping on local cases when it serves their own interests - so the least they can do is take on the ones that are in their own jurisdiction (airspace) - especially when all the legwork has already been done on it and all that is left is rubber stamping on the fed's part. If they don't have the resources to enforce and penalize on the laws they create and are going to defer to local jurisdictions and their laws anyhow - then why bother with the federal statute at all?

Redundancy in laws is completely ineffective as a deterrent - no matter at which level it is. It also should not be a handcuff against enforcement or penalty. All it does is create more paper/computer work and bureaucracy, increase inefficiencies and cost extra money. "Hey - this is illegal... but - let's make it illegal again!"

Instead - just cover it under a federal task force which enables deputizing of local law enforcement and criminal procedure.
So, this will be great! Pass a law and it will change the behavior of 'criminals'...sure wish they would ban murder in Chicago.
beilstwh 8
grow up. Instead of a minor misdemeanor charge with a slap on the hand they can now give these scum a felony charge and real jail time. They many times get caught because the police can see where the laser is coming from. Now they will go to prison and hopefully the next inbred idiot may think better then to try to down an aircraft
matt jensen 1
Isn't it already a FEDERAL crime?
Jerry Lohman 3
Yes. But, Colorado politicians need to be seen as "doing something."
srobak 2
David Rice -3
Please stop posting, since you are not a serious intellect.
David Rice -3
Please read the article.
Karl Scribner 1
What IS a laser as defined in the law? Surely not the $5 toy the cat chases around.
Wayne Burden 1
The article states… “ The new law would create a Class 6 felony, the lowest level felony charge in the state, for anyone who is caught flashing a laser.”. That sentence should have ended… “at an aircraft”.

Please keep in mind many of us who do stargazing have lasers for instructional purposes (pointing out celestial objects or constellations) or to zero in on telescope objects. We’re responsible users, so please don’t turn us in if you SEE a laser, but it’s not pointed at you or another aircraft. I can just visualize an over aggressive pilot turning someone in who’s innocently using their laser for astronomical purposes and the cops come rolling in. We totally understand the problem of these being pointed at aircraft… we’re just asking to give the astronomy buff a break. Thanks…
CaptKidd -1
A person can be charged with the same crime at the state and federal level without “ double jeopardy “ violation of the U.S. Constitution.
However, many times the State court will court order out the charges if there are Federal pending charges as any state sentencing will be eaten up by any Federal time. State Sentencing runs concurrent ( at the same time) with any Fed time unless in a Federal court order sentencing by the Her/His Honor.Sometimes the Feds decline to file any charges so this state law covers any legal loopholes in State persecution.
Sources:paralegal studies degree and my last profession at the local jail.


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