People who shine laser pointers at airplanes could face up to five years in prison under legislation approved Tuesday by the House of Representatives.
The use of cheap, hand-held laser pens "presents an imminent threat to aviation security and passenger safety," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, a Democrat., before the voice vote to pass the measure.
Republican Rep. Ric Keller, sponsor of the legislation, said that since 1990 the Federal Aviation Administration has reported more than 500 incidents of pilots being blinded or disoriented by laser beams.
Keller held up a laser pointer he said could be purchased for $12 (â‚¬8.92) at Staples that he said had the power to cause vision problems for pilots from a distance of two miles.
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