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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222301 Find in a Library
Title: Laser Legal Issues: Prosecuting Perpetrators
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:77  Issue:4  Dated:April 2008  Pages:18-21
Author(s): Madelyn I. Sawyer M.A.; John P. Sullivan
Date Published: April 2008
Page Count: 4
Document: HTML
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses legal issues regarding the prosecution of negligent or criminal lasing.
Abstract: Deterring and prosecuting criminal laser strikes against aircraft requires a unified effort among local, State, and Federal law enforcement; cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration; and awareness and collaboration with the aviation community. Laser incidents are a current and emerging concern to the aviation and law enforcement communities. When directed against aircraft cockpits, lasers, under certain conditions, can distract or impair the pilot and flight crew, posing a significant safety hazard. After informally tracking laser incidents for a decade, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established a mechanism to record laser incidents through its operations center in Washington, DC. The FAA then contacts the FBI and local law enforcement agencies. Despite these regulatory efforts, a specific Federal laser strike statute still is pending. This legislation would amend the Federal criminal code to impose a fine or prison term of up to 5 years for any person who knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft or its flight path. If enacted, this would create Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 39A, Aiming a laser Pointer at an Aircraft. Currently, malicious use of lasers to interfere with aircraft can be prosecuted under the provision of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 32, Interfering with Flight Crews, or under the Patriot Act (P.L. 107-56) section pertaining to acts of violence directed against mass transportation systems. Several States, most notably California, have specific statutes available to address laser strikes as well. 6 Endnotes
Main Term(s): Legislative issues; Terrorist weapons; Weapons
Index Term(s): Federal law violations; Federal legislation; Laws and Statutes; Legal research; Legislation; Police legal advisers; Prosecution; Prosecution model; State laws
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