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Posted: 6:58 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, 2012

Feds cracking down on 'laser pointing' at planes

New law would make it a federal crime

Southwest Airlines plane
Southwest Airlines plane

By Steve Berg and Scott MacFarlane

Washington, D.C. —

A startling report from the FBI shows a huge surge in the number of "laser attacks" on U.S. airplanes.  

The FBI says there've been 3,700 of the "laser pointer incidents" on planes across the U.S. this year. 

In recent years, the incidents only numbered a few hundred.

In a typical incident, people on the ground direct the light at the cockpit, which can temporarily blind and disorient the pilot.

"I wonder how stupid people can really can be,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. 

Congress is responding by making it a federal crime, punishable by five years in prison.

KRMG News contacted Tulsa International Airport, where spokesperson Alexis Higgins says there have been a few incidents of “laser pointing”, but not many.

“It’s not something that happens frequently,” she said. “I would say one to two per year.”

She said they do take it very seriously though and says they investigate every report of laser points that’s reported by pilots.