MYRTLE BEACH -- After months of discussing the matter, the Horry County Council started off 2013 by unanimously adopting an ordinance that limits the sale of green lasers in the unincorporated portions of the county.
The ordinance prohibits the sale of green laser pointers to those under the age of 18, and the strength of the devices can’t exceed 1 milliwatt.
Additionally, those using lasers for professional purposes, such as educators, contractors or public safety officials, would be exempt.
The action is a response to complaints last summer about people pointing the lasers at aircraft and other vehicles.
One way County Council could go about trying to enforce the rules is by requiring merchants to undergo audits to ensure they’re not selling green lasers above one milliwatt to minors, according to the ordinance.
Horry County Council isn’t the only body taking up the matter. The Myrtle Beach City Council deferred talks on green lasers until it had a chance to see how the County Council would act.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Surfside Beach Town Council, members also had scheduled a talk about green lasers. No ordinance was being voted on, but the council plans to take the county’s new rules and look at it as their own to vote on at their next meeting.
County Council originally was set to take up the green laser matter in October, but deferred it so the state delegation could discuss the issue.
It eventually moved back to the council after a joint meeting of the city, county and state representatives ended with it becoming apparent there was concern as to how quickly the state legislature could enact laws to regulate green lasers.
Dozens of laser strikes on approaching aircraft at Myrtle Beach International Airport were reported during the summer of 2012 and the U.S. Coast Guard limited service to the Grand Strand because it became classified as an active fire zone.
Mike LaPier, Horry County Director of Airports, previously said 70 strikes from lasers were made against approaching aircraft during the summer months.