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Australia to restrict laser-pointers - Minister

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Australia will move to restrict imports of powerful laser pointers which have recently been used in dazzling attacks against airline pilots coming in to land.

The Aussie government may also regulate ownership of such lasers more heavily, in a manner similar to the way it treats firearms.

"There are legitimate uses for devices that are used by surveyors and astronomers, for instance, but we will be putting heavy restrictions on the importation of the kind of lasers that have been used in these recent attacks," said Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus yesterday. Debus was speaking to ABC.

"Recent attacks on pilots have highlighted the seriousness of the problem. It's destructive, dangerous behavior which needs a coordinated response across Australia."

Debus is believed to be referring to green laser pointers, some of which give out a more powerful beam than ordinary red ones. There has been a rash of such attacks against commercial aircraft in Australia, including one last week in which six airliners approaching Sydney were compelled to alter their landing plans due to green lasers shining from the Bexley area.

Debus has previously said that the lasers could become subject to the same kind of regulations as firearms. According to Aussie civil-aviation spokesmen, five or six laser attacks are reported every week.

Such harassment has also occurred in the States, causing angry feds to read the Patriot Act at photon-squirting miscreants there. ®

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