Buy your lasers while you still can. Or, more preferably, don’t.
After hearing in mid-November from state legislators that it could be a year or more before the state acts on the problem of fools shining the lights at aircraft, Horry County Council restarted the process of putting its own ordinance in place to ban the sale of the pernicious devices to minors. County Councilman Marion Foxworth said Thursday he expects a final rule to be in place shortly after the new year.
While it’s not a final solution, it’s a good move. The county had been waiting on the sidelines in the hopes that the state would solve the problem more quickly, but we can’t wait through another tourist season worrying that the U.S. Coast Guard won’t be able to rescue struggling swimmers or lost boaters because of lasers in the hands of delinquent children.
The County Council, which would join Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach in regulating laser sales, does have some valid concerns about how complicated such a rule must be in order to exempt all the legally permissible uses of lasers – such as educational work, hunting, surveying and more. But any reduction in laser strikes on aircraft is better than the status quo.
Meanwhile, state legislators should strongly heed the words of Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, spoken to those present at the joint city, county and state meeting on Nov. 12: “When you go into session it’s got to be top priority. We’re at your mercy right now. Don’t make us wait.”