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Thread: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

  1. #1
    Unenlightened
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    Default Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    The legal situation in Australia for laser pointers is confusing and no one seems to know exactly what is going on so Iíve contacted the authorities in each state for laws on laser pointers.



    Iíve listed below the results that show clearly what exactly the laws are for laser pointers in Australia



    In Summary



    Legal

    Victoria No

    N.S.W. Yes

    Queensland Yes

    South Australia No

    Western Australia No

    Northern Territory Yes

    Tasmania No

    Canberra No



    Now for the details of laws on laser pointers for each state



    Victoria



    Victoria Police: Illegal to own, posses and trade



    The Victorian Department of Justice: listed as a prohibited weapon



    http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/DOJ+Internet/Home/Community+Safety/Weapons/JUSTICE+-+List+of+Prohibited+Weapons



    The Victorian Radiation Act 2005: laser pointers are illegal



    New South Wales



    Laser pointers are not prohibited weapons.



    N.S.W. Police: Laser pointers are legal according to them but they were uncertain



    Law Access: No laws on laser pointers



    N.S.W. Hazardous Materials & Radiation Section: Now laws on laser pointers



    Queensland



    Queensland Police: Not a weapon and no laws specifically covering laser pointers.



    Department of Health-Radiation Health: Only laws for class four medical lasers



    South Australia



    S.A. Police: Not illegal



    State Radiation Authorities: Laser pointers of more than 1mW are illegal to own, use and trade



    Western Australia



    W.A. Pol.ice: No laws governing laser pointers regardless of power levels



    Radiation Safety Act 1975: Cannot own,. sell or posses laser pointers. Licenses are required for class 3B or higher



    Nothern Territory



    N.T. Police: No laws covering laser pointers



    Department of Health and Community Services: No laws on laser pointers.



    Tasmania



    Tasmanian Police: They did not know



    Department of Health and Human Services: Radiation Protection Act 2005 need a license to buy, own and sell laser pointers



    Canberra



    Federal Police: Were not sure, under the impression that they are not illegal



    Fair Trading Department: Anything higher than class 1 or 2 is illegal in federal territory



    Future Laws



    A national directory for radiation protection and the National Radiation Protection Act 2004 are going to be enacted at the end of 2006 or early 2007. The result will be that nationwide class 3B or higher will need to be licensed.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    does anyone know exactly what the laws are in england??

  3. #3
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Well done for the first post, dragonlasers. Wish someone would do that for germany to.

    Take care.
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  4. #4
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    I added this thread to the sticky at the top of this forum, so it will not become forever lost when it scrolls past the bottom and subsequently off the forums list displayed on each user's screen. I believe it to be important enough to immortalise in this fashion.

  5. #5

    Ohgeez Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Just to let you know if yo wanted to compare, heres the law in thailand.


    We dont care if you own one, buy or sell them. There are absolutely no concerns of laser pointers here. Just to let you know of how careless we are and to watch out when you come here during ur holidays, things that are harmful but not stated by law and Illegal weapons/objects are everywhere.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    I am somewhat confused. What exactly are they saying is the problem with a lase pointer? How could it be a "weapon"? I use them constantly teaching in the classroom to point out items in a power point show and use them outside to indicate poisition of things to others for quick identification. Guess I just don't understand!!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    You can easily burn parts of your retina (the layer of the inner eye that detects light, meaning makes you see) faster than you can blink to protect your eye.
    This means that if you catch only a reflection of a higher powered pointer in the eye for a short blink, you can get eye damage. Depending on the power, exposure time, beam width etc. of the laser in question you can go blind.
    And this is permanent damage. Non-reversible. Blind.

    Now imagine a IR laser emitting invisible yet powerful beams. In the hand of a kid or an idiot. A powerful weapon indeed.

    I personally would not want such devices out in public.

    bernhard


    P.S.: we are talking >5mW power here, not the typical pointer for presentation purposes.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    I'd be interested in buying a lot of stuff on that list.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic nero_design's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained




    That's actually a little misleading . The listposted by Dragonlasers is somewhat inaccurate - he needs to take a closer look at both Federal and State Laws here: I've posted much of this here before so the search feature may be useful.

    First: Please note that under Australian Laws, a laser Pointer is any laser with battery power that is both portable and hand held. So the law determines that a 1mW pointer and even a 500mW handheld laser are both classified as "pointers". The FDA in the USA defines any laser up to <5mW as a Pointer. Anything over <5mW is considered to be too powerful to be a pointer and is classed as a Class IIIB laser or higher.

    Lasers in Victoria, Australia are legally sold, just as they are in any state of the Australian Commonwealth. But handheld lasers are all classed as pointers under Australian laws. Victoria allows laser pointers up to <1mW for general use by the public. Any pointer OVER >1mW is deemed a 'prohibited weapon'. However, it is my understanding that Victorian law permits the application by public for a Permit to own stronger handheld lasers/pointers. I state this because I have seen a privately drafted letter from a Victorian university proposing that they apply for an exemption. The application should likely be made to the Licencing Sergeant at the local Police Station. It should be made BEFORE importing the laser.

    __________________________________________________ _____

    Under NSW law, ANY laser may be imported for the individual use of the owner. Any misuse will result in the application of existing criminal laws. Customs has confirmed with me personally that (at this time), as long as the purchaser does NOT intent to re-sell the laser or advertise it to the general public, there are no restrictions on ownership, importing or possessing such lasers of ANY strength. Again, misuse the laser and you face appropriate criminal charges.

    To Recap:
    Now the sale or advertised sale WITHIN AUstralia (any state at all) is actually a violation of Federal Laws if the laser is over 1mW and is handheld and battery operated (aka Pointer). This is to restrict ownership to the original purchaser who imported the laser. Certain states allow the importation of lasers for private use and commercial applications and others do not. All states prohibit the sale of any laser pointers over 1mW within Australia so you have to import them if you must have them. These laws were enacted around 1997-1999 when chinese exporters were sending out Class 3B lasers (over <5mW and usually around >7-9mW) to toystores in Australia where they made their way to the markets. Traffic incidents and children misusing the pointers is what led immediately to their restriction of trade. Even an importer may not import more powerful lasers for you as an individual sale item. But in many states, you can import a laser for your own use. Several if you don't mind attracting the attention of the authorities.

    * If anyone in Australia stupidly shines a green laser (because it will be most likely be <5mW or higher) in my direction they'll have more than the authorities to consider at the time.
    Last edited by nero_design; 11-09-2006 at 08:17 PM. Reason: Poor Spelling. Sorry folks. Problem is fixed... just like my cat.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    I live in South Australia and have found this thread AFTER ordering a 50mW laser from DealExtreme.
    The one problem with Google is that you cannot find what you want unless you use exactly the right terms ("laser illegal south australia" seemed to do the trick this time).

    I'm wondering if customs will seize it and pour A$30 of mine down the drain (it is back ordered and won't be bundled in with the rest of my order). Would it be worth the risk or should I try to cancel the order.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Quote Originally Posted by kdam36 View Post
    does anyone know exactly what the laws are in england??
    You should do the work

  12. #12

    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Quote Originally Posted by daywalker View Post
    Well done for the first post, dragonlasers. Wish someone would do that for germany to.
    Take care.
    Why don't you do it ?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    AvPD

    It is highly UNlikely that customs will take your laser - they probably will not even know what it is since DX will not label the package as "laser" - more likely they will label it as LED or flashlight or similar.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    I love the fact that every province has different standards.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Thanks 7histology, your message has set me at ease.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Quote Originally Posted by greenlight View Post
    I love the fact that every province has different standards.
    It'll only take another laser incident or two in the media to change all that.

    I wonder the history was behind fireworks being banned to the general public here.

  17. #17

    Sigh Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Quote Originally Posted by AvPD View Post
    It'll only take another laser incident or two in the media to change all that.

    I wonder the history was behind fireworks being banned to the general public here.
    State and federal legislation doesn't appear to appreciate the 'darwin awards' effect...

    well, what i'm suggesting is that 'where there is the possibility of hurting someone it has to be licensed' ...

    funny - some would say lasers are no more dangerous than big sharp kitchen knives - (in the wrong hands) but we don't license those.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    You should be able to import them but owning them is another story...

    prohibited and restricted imports
    http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=4369
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    I've reconfirmed current laws at the time of this posting and New South Wales is still self-regulated in relation to lasers. This means that a person may indeed import a laser of any type for their own use but if it is battery powered and therefore portable, it may not be resold or advertised for sale if the laser is over 1mW.

    If a user/owner takes a laser over 1mW to another state (such as Victoria) where such lasers are actually prohibited, then they owner may face a fine or charges if caught using the laser without a permit.

    In states such as New South Wales, Tasmania and (I think) Queensland, the owner is only in breach of the law if they misuse the laser and cause public nuisance. As of NOW, a new law has also been passed in August and enacted in September 2007 which makes it a criminal charge to point ANY laser at an aircraft. This is the result of previous abuse by IDIOTS with lasers that were imported... since green laser pointers are not sold commercially in Australia. Whilst not likely to have been an actual threat to the pilots, recent lasering of helicopters (including police and rescue helicopters last month) caused an outcry and the high profile incident involving the lasering of a television helicopter from the ground on live television PLUS the lasering of a key footballer during a live transmition of a game has all but locked these lasers in the public mind as being the source of great annoyance and potential danger (real or imagined). The recent aboreted landing of a critically ill patient by ghelicopter after the pilot was 'blinded' by a green laser last month was the final straw for CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority).

    Right now, in the same states as before, you may still own your lasers as long as they are not used in an 'unlawful' manner.
    Regards,

    MARCO
    _____________________________________________


    My Laser Of Choice: http://www.pbase.com/nero_design/spyder2

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    It arrived on Thursday unopened, it was described as a "LED flashlight" and marked as a gift. This confirmed what I saw from the quarantine and customs websites, the only real concern is importing foodstuffs and obvious weapons. Customs is a federal organisation and as there is no federal legislation on importing lasers, they should go through without a problem.
    Interestingly, I had a package with some cleaning cloths inside opened by quarantine.

  21. #21
    Enlightened fixorater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Anybody have a simple answer on Lasers in the US. My impression was that Class IIIB were legal as long as the device had appropriate safety mechanisms like a key and delay switch?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    AS far as i know also Class IIIB is legal as long as it has the safety turnkey feature.
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  23. #23
    Flashaholic nero_design's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in USA

    I think there's a lot of confusion in the USA still.. and much of the problem is exasperated by false impressions by both Customs and the different variations of the law from State To State.

    I was informed a couple of years ago that even with various safety features incorporated into the stronger Class 3B lasers, the user is still expected to own a "variance" in order to import, possess and operate the laser in the USA. Someone in the industry once told me that it was "easier to obtain a license for a fully automatic submachine gun that it was to obtain a laser variance". Worth considering. This relates only to US customs and not to Australia. Each state in Australia has a different rule for lasers to the next. Just watch out in Victoria (& possibly South Australia) and Western Australia where they're closely monitored and not permitted over 1mW without a special exemption permit from the Police commissioner of that state.
    Regards,

    MARCO
    _____________________________________________


    My Laser Of Choice: http://www.pbase.com/nero_design/spyder2

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    For those thinking of importing a laser pointer into Australia, take a look at this.

    http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/re...erPointers.pdf

  25. #25
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Quote Originally Posted by laserboy View Post
    For those thinking of importing a laser pointer into Australia, take a look at this.

    http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/re...erPointers.pdf
    They're now classed as weapons, another success for the media (I seem to remember them referring to lasers as weapons). Yet another band-aid solution to a deeper problem.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    I've heard that NSW will soon have an amnesty period for you to turn in your >1mw lasers which are not only illegal to import but also illegal to own as of 1st July. There are exemptions available to certain groups, such as astronomy club members.

    Regards,
    Eric

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    I just got back from malaysia with a green laser from petaling street. I live in new south wales so does that mean my laser is illegal? It says on the label wavelength is 532nm and maximum output <20mW and it runs on two AAAs. I would not like to hand it in. If i walking around th streets of regional sydney pointing it at things, showing mw friends at school will that be illegal?

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Flashanator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    Yes its illegal.

    That 532nm wavelength isn't the problem, its the power rating (>20mW)

    Anything over 1mW is no go. So you wont find any handheld lasers that are legal.

    Since that laser is over 1mW, any use with it is illegal. LOL



  29. #29
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    Default Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    i thought it was anything over 5mw was illegal without a permit. not 1mw? otherwise that would make my rifle boresight illegal lol..

  30. #30

    Thinking Re: Laws on laser pointers in Australia explained

    well , yesterday i ordered a 5 Mw red laser poniter of ebaybut it was a module with a black and red wire coming out of it , it was the diode with a brass casing ,

    and the item is located in america. the shipping will ship to sydney , ( i live in A.C.T where laws are not yet established ) and i am wondering if it goes to customs , will they let it through or not because laws for laser pointers are in actions in the NSW area but not in the A.C.T

    thanx

    Antz_cro

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