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NSW: Fine for possession, prison for dangerous use

New South Wales (Australia) Police Minister Judy Spence said the Bligh Government is taking strong action against the misuse of laser pointers.

Ms Spence said: “This government is committed to cracking down on these reckless and idiotic individuals, and that is why we have previously announced we are introducing new legislation regarding the possession and use of laser pointers.

“Under changes to the Weapons Act which I announced in July, following the Weapons Act Review, it will become an offence to be in possession of a laser pointer, without a reasonable explanation.
“Legitimate use would include astronomical clubs, teachers and lecturers, who use these tools in their line of work.

“The legislation will also increase the maximum penalty for Dangerous Conduct with a Weapon ( including a laser pointer ) to 4 years imprisonment, or a $15,000 fine, and if a person is detected by police with a laser pointer in their possession and they can not provide a legitimate explanation, the item will be confiscated and they will face a penalty of up to a $750 fine.

“These penalties will apply to the use of laser pointers to disrupt any vehicle, not just aircraft.

“Police can also already charge a person with Interference with crew or aircraft, under the Commonwealth’s Civil Aviation Act ( 1988 ), if the individual is found to be pointing a laser at an aircraft. The maximum penalty under this Act is 2 years imprisonment.

“Our legislation, set to be introduced early next year, aims to bolster the federal legislation, by stopping these offences from even occurring in the first place, by addressing the offence of possession, as opposed to just the action.

“We can not be complacent about the dangerous use of laser pointers by some individuals in recent times.

“It is hard to comprehend why anyone would commit such a potentially deadly act as pointing a laser at an aircraft.”

From PressZoom