LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan would make it a crime to intentionally shine a laser at an aircraft under legislation going to Gov. Rick Snyder for his expected signature.
Pointing a laser at an aircraft – which can temporarily blind the pilot – is currently a federal crime punishable by five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. But the Michigan State Police says a state law would deter strikes and help authorities catch people who are increasingly “lasing” aircraft, often near airports.
Police expressed concerns after seeing what they call a definite increase in these “laser strikes” on aircraft; not just on law enforcement planes, but also on commercial flights over Detroit Metro Airport.
MSP Lt. Mike Shaw says many people don’t seem to realize it’s not fun and games but a dangerous practice, which can damage a pilot’s eyesight and even cause ongoing medical problems that could affect an officer’s ability to work.
The main bill passed the House 106-2 Tuesday. It would make shining a laser at an aircraft or moving train a felony punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Exceptions would be made for research conducted by the military or aviation industry.
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