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Thursday, April 07, 2005

The bill

Here is the reason for the bill:
Many gun sites are now being replaced with lasers to sight in on a target. Police officers were being intimidated by having gun and/or non-gun laser pointed at them it also could cause eye dammage.My bill covers not only police but fire fighters and emergency personals ie. Ambulance workers imagine potential panic if you were an emergency rescue worker responding to a gunshot victim and the shooter had escaped ,then as you are working trying to save a life a laser dot appears on you or your partners chest some people do this as a joke or to stop the rescue or to cause fear I saw this happen first on a episode of "cops" (It might have been one of the other cop shows I dont know for sure) .I had spoken with fire fighters (they are many times the first responders on these type of incidents)as well as E.M.T.s and they loved this bill.well here is the bill I have removed the boilerplate that comes with every bill but it is house bill 0238 if any one wants to see it.

1a.It is an offense to knowingly activate and point a laser pointer or other device utilizing a laser beam at a person known to be a law enforcement officer, firefighters,emergency medical technician, or other emergency service personnel,wile in the performance of his or her official duties with the intent to place such person in fear of serious bodily injury or death.

that's it, about 60 or 70 words maybe 120 with the boilerplate that describes where in the law books it goes and the start date. I can see where major study is needed.Can't you?


  1. So, why not make it illegal to point a laser pointer at anyone?


  2. Are the Tenn Democrats in bed with the laser pointer lobby? I can't see how this is anything but a slam on you.

  3. It would seem to be a slam dunk. After all the fuss over lasers being pointed at airlines, why wouldn't anyone want to help prevent possible accidents or impediments to the listed officials? Can you imagine being in an ambulance going around a dangerous curve when a laser is purposely aimed into the driver eyes?

  4. Rep. Campfield, can you tell me how many documented instances of this have happened in Tennessee? Of course it is a good bill, but why does the Legislature have to pass a bill for something that is not occuring? We could apply that to every hypothetical situation, couldn't we? It is a waste of time and money.

  5. I don't think there is a laser pointer lobby, if anything they would have a trade organization lobby (ie auto dealers).

    It would be hard to create a law that made it illegal to point a laser pointer at anyone. It would be very difficult to enforce and it would be silly to put people in jail (which costs much $. I think $34/day) over a small offense during a budget crunch.

    I still think the bill is good for a frosh...

    I don't think the laser pointers are being beamed at people while driving. Probably just at the accidents or in public...Rep Campfield would a better person to explain...

  6. Lasers have been around for over 20 years. A man in the Service was in Washington when a Russian ship that wasn't supposed to be in our waters knocked out his eye with a laser in 1997.

    I know, why don't we just let people keep committing crimes until we become aware of them! Why bother thinking out of the box? After all, we are only at WAR!

  7. The bill looked pretty straightforward. Only those caught pointing lasers at firefighters or cops in the act of performing emergency services would be guilty of crimes. We're not talking about annoying idiots at movie theaters pointing them at Ben Affleck's crotch.

  8. Well, I must say, the intent of this bill is good. However, as another blogger said, I don't see how it necessarily "protects" any of the emergency responders. Look at it this way: by the time the laser was pointed directly on one of the responders, the need for such a law would become secondary to the fact that either (1) someone is playing a stupid prank or (2) someone is already pulling the trigger. If it's the eye damage that you wish to address, then your bill needs to be more carefull constructed, such that it would be unlawful to point on the facial region of an emergency responder during an emergency call. But, even that is too broad because of the nature of their work. Ultimately, this type of legislation would be struck down for being too broad.

  9. I'm not really seeing the necessity of this bill other than to have your name attached to seomething.

    It's been my experience that gun lasers are not sufficiently strong enough to cause eye damage.

    Second, it's already a crime for someone to point a gun at LE or emergency personnel (laser or not).

    Third, it's illegal to impede LE or emergency personnel in the performance of their duties. It's called obstruction of justice, impeding an officer.

    This appears to be anothe fluff bill.

  10. It would be hard to create a law that made it illegal to point a laser pointer at anyone. It would be very difficult to enforce and it would be silly to put people in jail

    And it would be as difficult if the target of the laser were an officer or firefighter. And equally silly to put someone in jail unless there was actual harm caused, even if it is a policeman.

  11. Well Stacey,
    It looks like Jones and the rest of the committee opposed to its passage weren't the only ones that thought it was an unnecessary bill.
    It sounds to me like you're were using this bill as a political tactic to A) show your constituents that you're authoring legislation and B) trying to make the Dems out to be the bad guys.
    Since you're a rookie in state politics, you might want to think again before you put your name on something that can't be enforced until after it's too late.

  12. Cragwell, Based on this legally-uninformed discussion you've sure drawn a lot of conclusions . . . and thrown a lot of barbs. Sure, most laws are of no use (hence, the theoretical beauty of a part-time legislature), but some things y'all aren't considering are that some laws have to create de facto crimes ("strict liability") because it'd be near impossible to establish that some thug/sphincter was not attempting to disrupt a first-responder's work rather than merely sending out stray beams while practicing his powerpoint presentation for night school (before heading off to work his second job). And, personal lasers (either gunsights or pointers) are pretty unprecedented so new legislation to fit a new need isn't far-fetched. I guarantee you, this legislation would discourage some if not most people from doing such "pranks," even if we aren't going to lock them up for life (probably not ever) if they're convicted.

  13. cragwall wrote - Well Stacey,
    It looks like Jones and the rest of the committee opposed to its passage weren't the only ones that thought it was an unnecessary bill.

    I am just wondering, would the Legislative branch oppose citizens bringing laser pointers into the State Capitol?

  14. I spoke to Deputy Anderson of The LA Sheriff's Dept. today, and he said he agrees wholeheartedly with this bill. He likened it to crank calling 911. No one gets hurt doing that, do they?

  15. Tell me one judge that wouldn't rule in favor of the plaintiff if a person were to use a laser pointer to obstruct an emergency responder from saving the life of a victim?
    Is there some laser pointing epidemic that is preventing hundreds of lives from being saved on a daily basis?
    If the individual using the laser pointer were to be caught, couldn't a tough lawyer like yourself powertee have him sentenced to time in prison?
    If any of you are familiar with political campaigning, you'd know this is a perfect bill/vote that could be used to distort an official's voting record in a re-election bid. It's also another bill that can be used to beef up a candidate's legislative resume.
    My question for the Rep is, aren't there more important issues that need to be dealt with? How about getting rid of those illegal guns being sold on the black market that are murdering those people the emergency responders are trying to save?

  16. Cragwall, This is getting nitpicky, but a plaintiff needs injury or damages, and that would be difficult to prove if they were simply deterred from doing their job in rescuing/assisting a third party. Also, as far as a "judge ruling in favor" the people you have to persuade are jurors. Sure, this type of bill could be good campaign fodder (note to Rep. Ulysses Johnson!) but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad idea; and since the majority of us on this site aren't determined to hate theRep, we aren't inclined to believe the worst about his legislative efforts. Lastly, you need to read more closely (or else not dodge the issues), as I stated above, this appears to be an area that is fairly recent and it arguably warrants legislation. Also, BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THIS OFFENSIVE ACTION (pointing a laser at someone) this action probably requires classification as a strict liability offense.

    Some folks have a hard time believing that a) laws can deter bad behavior and b) there are other answers to problems of abusing something than banning it. Signed, Tough Lawyer


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