MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WPDE) - The City of Myrtle Beach is taking the lead in banning high powered green lasers after Horry County Council tabled an ordinance earlier this month. At a League of Cities meeting with mayors across the county, city officials talked about plans to create their own regulations.
Along the Grand Strand, you can easily find green high powered lasers for sale. But their misuse has led to numerous complaints and problems. In July and August the U.S. Coast Guard had to suspend their searches for missing boaters because green lasers were directed at the pilots. When that happens, the aircraft must be grounded, and the pilot's eyes have to be examined.
"Now it's time to stop it now. It's time to do something and say we're not going to tolerate this anymore. We need to put restrictions on the power of the laser that's being sold," said Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes.
"We think going after the sale of the high powered is the most effective way to do anything about the problem," added Tom Leath, Myrtle Beach City Manager.
At Thursday's meeting, Leath discussed their plans with other elected officials. Their goal is to get them on board as well.
"Interestingly enough, the map of where these tags come from you would think they're all occurring right on the oceanfront in Myrtle Beach, but that's really not the case. Most of them are coming from south of Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest," explains Leath.
As for Horry County Council looking to state legislators to pass a law, Rhodes says that will take too long. "We can't wait. We want the state to do something because it is a state problem, but we need to go ahead and do something now because if we wait on the state they've got to go in session in January, then they've got to discuss. Then it could be April or May before they get around to it."
During the meeting, Conway Mayor Alys Lawson expressed interest in following the lead of Myrtle Beach. Rhodes hopes the county will eventually come on board.
Myrtle Beach is number one in the country for reports of green lasers being pointed at aircraft.