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Laser pointers now offensive weapons?

24 July 2014

Like most developed countries around the world, New Zealand has opted to regulate high-powered lasers.

Given the number of reported instances where foolish folk have aimed 100-500mW laser pointers at aircraft or vehicles, with the risk of temporarily blinding those in control, this is probably not a silly move.

However, I was surprised to read in this NZH story that the definition of "powerful" is anything with a power output of more than one measly milliwatt.

Are they serious?

Do they realise that the vast majority of totally legitimate laser pointers, such as those used for presentations, teaching, lectures etc., have an output of around 5mW?

Does this mean that keeping a useful device such as this attached to your keyring may now expose you to a fine of $2,000 or a three month jail term?

Now I can understand regulating laser pointers with powers of 50mW or maybe even 10mW or more -- but 1mW? Seriously?

What's more, it now seems that carrying the Beamshot 1000S laser sight without just cause will get you into just as much trouble as carrying the gun to which it might be attached.

What a tragic indictment on society that we need to have laws that restrict the carrying of wonderful bits of technology -- simply because a few mentally deficient folk might choose to mis-use them. Even more tragic is the knee-jerk type of over-reaction that legislators have come up with -- effectively making it illegal to possess a paltry 1.1mW laser pointer.

An example cited by retiring National MP Cam Calder as justification for this crazy new law is "if you're driving at night and someone shines one of these in your eye, it's extremely dangerous."

Well as far as I can remember, nobody has ever been killed in the manner described above -- yet I do recall at least one death that occurred when miscreants threw rocks off a motorway overpass in Auckland. Yet, as far as I know, carrying a rock without reasonable cause, doesn't get you fined $2,000 or thrown in jail for three months.

By the end of the year, you won't even be able to import lasers greater than 1mW without proving you have a justification for doing so.

Sigh... the invasion of the nannies continues.

As I've said before... adrenaline will soon be considered an illicit drug because those who govern us are hell-bent on ensuring that we're never exposed to any risk or danger.

This country used to be renowned for being a land filled with "hard men" who would take risks to achieve otherwise unattainable goals. A land of rugby fullbacks and farmers who could carry half a dozen fenceposts on their shoulders...

We're already turning into a land of nancy-boys dressed in cotton-wool who can't be trusted with a shiny laser pointer and who are forbidden by OSH to lift anything heavier than a matchstick -- for fear of rupturing our selves.

Oh how the mighty have fallen!

You'll never lead the world when you're recognised as the land of mediocrity and girliness.

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