New regulations may be in the works for green laser pointers

Thursday, NewsChannel 15 found out that officials from Myrtle Beach, the Coast Guard, the Chamber of Commerce, and Horry County Council met to see what changes could be made to protect pilots in our area from green laser pointers that have becomes so popular.

Myrtle Beach spokesman, Mark Kruea said the problem along the Grand Strand has reached new heights.

"People are using them irresponsibly," said Kruea. "particularly when it comes to pointing them at airplanes."

In July alone, Myrtle Beach International Airport reported 24 laser incidents involving aircraft in Horry County. Two recent Coast Guard missions in our area have been stopped because of laser hits.

Currently, the cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach both have regulations on how old you have to be to purchase the lasers and how you can use them.

Director of Airports, Mike La Pier, says the ordinances that are in place are no longer enough.

La Pier says, "In a perfect world, we don't have lasers around airports. We don't have lasers around aircraft at all."

However, La Pier realizes it's not a perfect world. So instead he is asking if "there is a way to look at regulating the size and power of lasers that are sold in our community and region."

Kruea says that it's important for meetings to take place between the agencies and government leaders so they can improve air safety for pilots.

"I think the county's going to take the information and look at a county-wide approach, so that the county would take the lead and all the cities would follow," said Kruea.

Horry County Public Safety Director Paul Whitten says their meeting Thursday was extremely educational and the topic will likely be approached in future county council meetings.