Senate Approves the Securing Cockpits Against Lasers Act

December 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the U.S. Senate unanimously approved an amended version of H.R 1400, the Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), offered an amendment to the bill, which was originally introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ric Keller (R-Fla.). The legislation unanimously passed the House on December 7, 2005.

H.R. 1400, as passed by the House, makes it illegal to knowingly aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. The bill establishes a penalty of a fine and/or imprisonment not to exceed five years for violation of the law.

Chairman Stevens’ amendment creates three key changes to the House bill. First, it makes an exception for airplane manufacturers when they are engaged in research and development programs. Secondly, the Stevens amendment creates a similar exception for the Department of Defense. Finally, the legislation as passed by the Senate, exempts emergency signaling devices that are used to signal search-and-rescue aircraft.