Lawmakers seek crackdown on lasers being aimed at aircraft - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers seek crackdown on lasers being aimed at aircraft

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(CBS photo) (CBS photo)

Lawmakers are demanding a crackdown on lasers being aimed at aircraft.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal plans to demand a combined agency effort to curb the crime.

He said that there are 5,300 reports this year alone of individuals aiming lasers and planes.

"When aimed at aircraft, simple laser pointers can blind pilots temporarily, damage their eyes, and pose severe safety risks to all who fly," Blumenthal said. "Despite Congressional action making it a federal crime to aim lasers at aircraft, dangerous cases have skyrocketed."

Blumenthal seeks to call for enforcement action by the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Food and Drug administration and other agencies.

"I am calling on the DOJ, FDA, DHS and FAA to take coordinated, aggressive action to protect the safety of our skies," he said. "I will also seek new prohibitions and penalties if necessary."

Blumenthal said that when aimed at an aircraft, lasers can temporarily blind pilots and damage their eyes as well as pose a severe threat to travelers who fly.

Congressional action in 2012 made it a federal offense; however, Blumenthal said incidents continue to skyrocket.

Before the 5,300 reports from this year, there were only 300 in 2005.

Blumenthal's news conference is set for 11 a.m. at Brainard Airport in Hartford.

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