A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use
Claire Tucker undertook the effort out of fear for her husband Dan's safety. As of early September 2020, a Wiltshire air ambulance had been illuminated four times by laser light. Her husband was involved in at least one of those, on September 7, in which he saw 'red spots for a while after the laser caught him."
That night, Claire Tucker made an emotional appeal on Facebook, which was also put online by BBC News. In it she said, in part:
"Last night, Dan was in the helicopter, and all of a sudden, they were just about to come in to land. So all of a sudden, the laser light came in and caught Dan's goggles. So when it hits the goggles, it magnifies it. Number one: It could blind him. It could mean that he never gets to see his children again. If they were unlucky enough to hit the pilot's goggles, it could: A, blind the pilot, but B, disorientate the pilot, which will mean the helicopter hits the ground. Okay? So you're going to cause a helicopter crash… If you know anybody that has one of these lasers, please, take it off them, throw them out. Somebody knows somebody who's got these bloody lasers. Alright? It needs to stop. I do not want a knock on the door in the middle of the night by the police because the helicopter has come down."
Tucker during her Facebook appeal
She researched pointers online and found a laser pen on eBay with a claimed 50 mile range for £12 (USD $15.50). Her goal is to get laser pens banned for sale and importation.
In October 2020, Tucker said, "My husband is really angry and confused and a bit frightened about it. They can plan for bird strikes and the weather but there is no planning for this. It could bring them down instantly."
Her petition is on the Parliament website. It was created October 5, 2020 and runs for 6 months until April 5, 2021. As of October 8, there were 192 signatures.
It needs 10,000 signatures to have HM Government respond, and 100,000 signatures to be considered for debate in the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
The petition text is below.
From the Wiltshire Times (initial story, September 9 2020; petition established story, October 8 2020), Somerset Live and BBC News. Somerset Live also has a story about the September 7 laser incident that precipitated Tucker's appeal and petition drive.
PETITION: The UK to ban the online sale and importation of handheld laser pens.
To prohibit retailers from selling handheld laser pens of any size and strength. To prohibit the importation of laser pens of any strength and size into the UK. To seize any imported laser pens at customs.
Handheld laser pens have been used to attack UK air ambulance, police and MOD helicopters. This poses a great risk to the air crew as it could blind them and more seriously disorientate the pilot risking the safety of the helicopter and air crew. As these imported pens grow stronger and more readily available they are more dangerous. My husband is an air ambulance Critical Care Paramedic and I am petrified he will be killed needlessly and our daughters will never see their father again.