Md. moves toward expanding laser pointer ban to targeting cars, boats

Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer//March 15, 2018

Md. moves toward expanding laser pointer ban to targeting cars, boats

By Heather Cobun

//Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer

//March 15, 2018

ANNAPOLIS — An extension of Maryland’s prohibition on misuse of laser pointers to cars and boats received a quick hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Thursday after passing the House of Delegates unanimously last month.

House Bill 125 expands a state law prohibiting a person from intentionally shining a laser pointer at the operator of an aircraft to include motor vehicles and vessels. It is sponsored by Del. Mark N. Fischer, R-Calvert, who told the House Judiciary Committee in February the Cove Point facility in Lusby has experienced issues with laser pointers being directed at boats using the port to ship natural gas.

Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans, also at the February hearing, described a 2017 incident where the U.S. Coast Guard was called and the sheriff’s office investigated laser pointers being aimed at pilots in the Chesapeake Bay.

“It can blind pilots,” he said. “It can make them steer off course.”

The current law only applies to aircraft and carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Fischer’s bill also created a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison if the laser pointer causes an injury, but that provision was removed by amendment in the Judiciary Committee.


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