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Are IR lasers really illegal for companies to sell to non-government entities?

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Ben321:
I was looking at this IR laser sight https://tnvc.com/shop/izlid-c2-ae-ultra-laser/ and noticed that it said it's sold to government/military only. Their explanation is "IR Lasers are restricted to Law Enforcement and Government sales only and cannot be sold to civilians.". However, I've heard of no such law. There are IR lasers sold to the public in all kinds of products. CD players use IR lasers. That green laser pointer you have? It has an IR laser in it that's actually more powerful than the IR laser in a CD player (additional laser optics then convert the IR beam to a visible green beam, and an IR blocking filter removes any IR that isn't converted). And power is also clearly not an issue for civilian owned IR lasers, as you can easily get high power CO2 cutting and engraving lasers on Amazon, such as this one https://www.amazon.com/OMTech-Engraver-LightBurn-Software-Engraving/dp/B099KKXMHZ/ and that's perfectly legal.

So I don't know what law TNVC is thinking supports their idea that IR lasers (or even high power IR lasers) are illegal for civilians to own. They don't actually cite any law by its reference number (as would be found in the actual bill that established that law) so that I could look it up and verify it myself. So I'm wondering if this isn't just some kind of liability thing for them. They don't want to get sued if a member of the general public accidentally hurts themself with these high power aiming lasers, so they refuse to sell it, and then back that refusal with the false claim that such a sale would be illegal.

Psi:
A 1 Watt laser sold as a laser pointer or sold for pointing at things is illegal. That's what they are talking about. 
The fact that it's IR is irrelevant.

It's not that 1 Watt lasers are illegal to own. It's about the regulations on the laser output power in specific products that uses lasers.
In this case things for pointing at other things.

Lasers used for pointing at things have to be under 5mW (1mW in some countries)
But for example, a home cinema data projector, like the Casio one, full of many 1Watt blue lasers is fine because it's not for pointing.
Or a bluray writer with 400mW diode is totally fine.


https://www.laserpointersafety.com/rules-general/rules-US-consumers/rules-US-consumers.html

Ben321:

--- Quote from: Psi on October 29, 2022, 09:58:24 pm ---A 1 Watt laser sold as a laser pointer or sold for pointing at things is illegal. That's what they are talking about. 
The fact that it's IR is irrelevant.

It's not that 1 Watt lasers are illegal to own. It's about the regulations on the laser output power in specific products that uses lasers.
In this case things for pointing at other things.

Lasers used for pointing at things have to be under 5mW (1mW in some countries)
But for example, a home cinema data projector, like the Casio one, full of many 1Watt blue lasers is fine because it's not for pointing.
Or a bluray writer with 400mW diode is totally fine.


https://www.laserpointersafety.com/rules-general/rules-US-consumers/rules-US-consumers.html

--- End quote ---

I know that. I'm very well aware that lasers may not be sold with the term "pointer", or be described as intended to be used in that manner in ads for the product, if the laser is over 5mW. However, the laser in question isn't a conventional laser pointer, nor is it advertised as such. It's advertised as an IR laser gun sight for night vision users. Yet it's still restricted to govt/mil sales, and the claim on the website selling it is that this is because "IR Lasers are restricted to Law Enforcement and Government sales only and cannot be sold to civilians". Nothing mentioned about the device being sold as a laser pointer. Nothing about it having too high of output power. It seems that the company selling this laser is under the impression that IR lasers can't be legally sold to the general public. Do you have any idea if there's actually any law supporting that? If so, it would seem to make CD players illegal, because they use IR lasers. So I think this company is operating under some incorrect info.

CatalinaWOW:

--- Quote from: Ben321 on October 30, 2022, 03:12:53 am ---
--- Quote from: Psi on October 29, 2022, 09:58:24 pm ---A 1 Watt laser sold as a laser pointer or sold for pointing at things is illegal. That's what they are talking about. 
The fact that it's IR is irrelevant.

It's not that 1 Watt lasers are illegal to own. It's about the regulations on the laser output power in specific products that uses lasers.
In this case things for pointing at other things.

Lasers used for pointing at things have to be under 5mW (1mW in some countries)
But for example, a home cinema data projector, like the Casio one, full of many 1Watt blue lasers is fine because it's not for pointing.
Or a bluray writer with 400mW diode is totally fine.


https://www.laserpointersafety.com/rules-general/rules-US-consumers/rules-US-consumers.html

--- End quote ---

I know that. I'm very well aware that lasers may not be sold with the term "pointer", or be described as intended to be used in that manner in ads for the product, if the laser is over 5mW. However, the laser in question isn't a conventional laser pointer, nor is it advertised as such. It's advertised as an IR laser gun sight for night vision users. Yet it's still restricted to govt/mil sales, and the claim on the website selling it is that this is because "IR Lasers are restricted to Law Enforcement and Government sales only and cannot be sold to civilians". Nothing mentioned about the device being sold as a laser pointer. Nothing about it having too high of output power. It seems that the company selling this laser is under the impression that IR lasers can't be legally sold to the general public. Do you have any idea if there's actually any law supporting that? If so, it would seem to make CD players illegal, because they use IR lasers. So I think this company is operating under some incorrect info.

--- End quote ---

Read the advertisement carefully.  It is advertised for use in designation (pointing) and also "fencing".  Not as a sight, although it is mounted in an assembly similar to a sight.

I am not an expert on US law so have no idea what the exact regulations are.  But would assume that this product is more tightly controlled than the visible light pointers, because they are much more dangerous.  The IR light does not activate the human blink response, and you can get serious retina burns without even realizing that anything bad is happening, since there are no pain receptors in the retina.  Actually you may notice that the world is going black in small and perhaps growing regions.  The damage is permanent.  It is not mentioned in the ad, but there may also be AM, FM or other modulation of the beam for IFF and other purposes which would also result in controls on distribution.

I am actually surprised that law enforcement has access to them.  Without proper training and protective equipment for everyone in range they are quite dangerous. 

Psi:
Yeah as CatalinaWOW said, it says it's for pointing in the first sentence. So it falls under laser pointer regulations.

"The IZLID Ultra combines the powerful IR laser of the IZLID 1000 (for pointing and illumination)"

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