This bill has been amended

Bill S6877-2013

Establishes the offense of aiming a laser at an aircraft

Establishes the offense of aiming a laser at an aircraft; makes such offense a class A misdemeanor.

Details

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  • Mar 25, 2014: REFERRED TO CODES

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6877

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to prohibiting aiming a laser at an aircraft

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

To prohibit the aiming of the beam of a laser at an aircraft in its flight path, and provides that such offense will be a class E felony.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Amends the penal law by adding a new section 240.64 which creates the crime of knowingly aiming a laser at an aircraft. A person is guilty of such crime when he or she knowingly aims the beam of a laser into airspace with the intent to track, target or interfere with aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at an aircraft or in the immediate vicinity of an aircraft and such beam exceeds the limits set by the FAA for the FAA specified laser flight zone where the aircraft was located and a pilot in the illuminated aircraft files a laser incident report with the FAA.

The term laser shall mean any device designed, or used to amplify electromagnetic radiation by stimulated emission that emits a beam.

This section does not prohibit aiming a laser at an aircraft by an authorized individual in the conduct of research and development or flight test operations conducted by an aircraft manufacturer, the ETA, or any other person authorized by the FAA to conduct such research and development or flight test operations or members or elements the United States Department of Defense or Homeland Security acting in an official capacity or an individual in an emergency situation using a laser to attract the attention of an aircraft for bona fide rescue purposes, or an individual whose laser operations have been submitted to and reviewed by the FAA.

JUSTIFICATION:

The use of lasers targeting aircrafts poses serious risk to pilots and their passengers, particularly during critical operations such as landings and takeoffs. At its worst, a strong laser beam flash could cause temporary loss of vision, reduced night vision or cause damage to the eye. A recent example of this danger occurred this past July when a JetBlue pilot flying in route to John F. Kennedy Airport injured his eyes when a green laser was pointed directly at the cockpit.

Instances of laser pointers shined at aircraft carriers while in flight have greatly increased over the last several years. According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, in 2013, there were 3,460 instances reported. This is a significant increase over the 283 instances reported in 2005. The increase in reports is likely due to a number of factors, including: the availability of inexpensive laser devices on the internet, higher power levels that enable laser to hit aircraft at higher altitudes, increased pilot reporting of laser strikes, and the introduction of green lasers, which are more easily seen than red lasers.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New bill

FISCAL IMPLICATION:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect on the first November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6877 IN SENATE March 25, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. GRISANTI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to prohibiting aiming a laser at an aircraft THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 240.64 to read as follows: S 240.64 AIMING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF AIMING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT WHEN HE OR SHE KNOWINGLY AIMS THE BEAM OF A LASER: 1. INTO AIRSPACE WITH THE INTENT TO TRACK, TARGET OR INTERFERE WITH AIRCRAFT IN THE SPECIAL AIRCRAFT JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES; OR 2. AT AN AIRCRAFT, OR IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF AN AIRCRAFT, AND: (A) THE CALCULATED OR MEASURED BEAM IRRADIANCE ON THE AIRCRAFT, OR IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE AIRCRAFT, EXCEEDS LIMITS SET BY THE FAA FOR THE FAA-SPECIFIED LASER FLIGHT ZONE (NORMAL, SENSITIVE, CRITICAL, OR LASER-FREE) WHERE THE AIRCRAFT WAS LOCATED; AND (B) A PILOT IN THE ILLU- MINATED AIRCRAFT FILES A LASER INCIDENT REPORT WITH THE FAA. 3. AS USED IN THIS SECTION: (A) THE TERM "LASER" SHALL MEAN ANY DEVICE DESIGNED OR USED TO AMPLIFY ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION BY STIMULATED EMISSION THAT EMITS A BEAM; AND (B) THE TERM "FAA" SHALL MEAN THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION. 4. THIS SECTION DOES NOT PROHIBIT AIMING A LASER BEAM AT AN AIRCRAFT, OR IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF AN AIRCRAFT, BY: (A) AN AUTHORIZED INDIVIDUAL IN THE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOP- MENT OR FLIGHT TEST OPERATIONS CONDUCTED BY AN AIRCRAFT MANUFACTURER, THE FAA, OR ANY OTHER PERSON AUTHORIZED BY THE FAA TO CONDUCT SUCH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OR FLIGHT TEST OPERATIONS; OR (B) MEMBERS OR ELEMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OR THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ACTING IN AN OFFICIAL CAPACITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, OPERATIONS, TESTING OR TRAINING; OR
(C) AN INDIVIDUAL IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION USING A LASER TO ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF AN AIRCRAFT FOR BONA FIDE RESCUE PURPOSES; OR (D) AN INDIVIDUAL WHOSE LASER OPERATIONS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED TO AND REVIEWED BY THE FAA, WHEN: (I) THE FAA HAS ISSUED A LETTER NOT OBJECTING TO THE LASER USE; AND (II) THE LASER IS OPERATED IN CONFORMITY WITH THE FAA SUBMISSION. AIMING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT IS A CLASS E FELONY. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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