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Guy Who Aimed Laser Pointer at Police Helicopter and Private Plane Headed to Federal Prison

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Laser via Shutterstock
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Folks, federal authorities really want you to understand that aiming laser pointers at aircraft in flight is not a game. Case in point a sentence just handed down to a 19-year-old North Hollywood man that finds the defendant heading to federal prison for 30 months for his crime.

United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson said the prison term should serve as a message to other would-be defendants who think aiming laser beams at planes and choppers is all in good fun, after giving Adam Gardenhire the news, according to the Department of Justice.

Gardenhire was arrested in April 2012 after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of aiming a laser pointer on March 29, 2012 at a private plane bound for Burbank's Bob Hope Airprot and a helicopter operated by the Pasadena Police Department. He was convicted in October 2012.

Today's sentencing and Gardenhire's case represents new legislation in action, explains the DOJ:

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The federal statute used to charge Gardenhire is part of legislation signed into law in 2012 by President Obama making it a federal crime to deliberately aim a laser at an aircraft. The indictment of Gardenhire marked only the second time the new statute had been used in the United States.

Gardenhire tried to argue in court that "aiming a laser at an aircraft in flight was not really very dangerous." The legal system respectfully disagreed, and Gardenhire is off to prison.

California consistently leads the nation in reports of laser attacks on aircraft, with more than 500 of the nearly 3,500 nationwide laser attacks reported in 2012.

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