Laser Pointer

Laser pointers like this are sold on New Jersey's Boardwalks and elsewhere. In July 2011, the sale and possession of such instruments were banned in Ocean City, where several aircraft reported being targeted.

OCEAN CITY - The city may consider outlawing sales of laser pointers on the Boardwalk following complaints this summer that laser beams are being aimed at aircraft.

During a City Council meeting Thursday night, Councilman Scott Ping suggested the city look into banning the devices.

"Obviously there are problems with lasers being shone up in the sky toward planes," Ping said.

"The effect this can have on the people, the planes and pilots tells us this ... is not good," he said.

Mayor Jay Gillian said most Boardwalk merchants have agreed to stop selling laser pointers. Of 10 shops that sold the devices, eight planned to stop the sales recently, he said.

Gillian said the city hopes to convince the remaining shops to voluntarily remove them from their shelves.

"We're all working together," he said.

Ocean City police reported last week that the city's Boardwalk was identified as the location of seven incidents in which lasers were pointed at aircraft approaching Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township.

Police and the Federal Aviation Administration warn that directing lasers at airplanes and helicopters could startle or temporarily blind the pilots, endangering them and their passengers.

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a crime - ranking anywhere from a disorderly persons offense to a second-degree crime depending on whether bodily injury is involved - city police said.

But owning or selling the devices is not against the law.

Across the country, reports of lasers directed at aircraft is widespread. About 1,400 cases were reported across the United States this year, the Federal Aviation Administration said last week.

Contact Brian Ianieri:

609-463-6713

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