Laser pointer bill passes State Senate

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Michigan is poised to join a growing list of states that are making it a crime to attack aircraft with lasers, which endanger pilots and passengers.

Legislation approved Tuesday by the state Senate would make it a five-year felony to intentionally shine a laser at an aircraft, similar to a stiff federal law. The bills could soon reach Gov. Rick Snyder.

Twenty of the 22 states with such statutes have put them on the books in the last dozen years, a period in which the number of reported laser strikes nationwide spiked from 300 a year to 7,000.

Though there have been no known air crashes due to lasers, authorities alarmed by the surge in incidents hope having state laws will deter attacks and take the burden off federal authorities.

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