Rep. Ellzey Joint-Authors Bill Creating Penalties For Use of Fireworks and Laser Pointers Against Peace Officers
Today, State Representative Jake Ellzey presented House Bill 2746 to the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety increasing penalties for injuring a law enforcement officer using a laser pointer. During nationwide riots last year, data shows law enforcement officers suffered hundreds of eye injuries from laser pointers.
Rep. Ellzey stated, "In recent years, we've seen streets become battlegrounds where law enforcement has been attacked and injured by laser pointers. As a pilot, I know the dangers of being lased. I've been lazed. It put my eyesight at risk; it puts passengers' lives at risk. It's very dangerous. A seemingly harmless toy is now being used as a weapon against law enforcement. Justice demands that the people carrying out these crimes need to pay the price for their lawless behavior."
Key provisions of HB 2746:
Punishment of using a laser pointer against law enforcement will increase from a
Class C misdemeanor to:
• a state jail felony if using a laser pointer causes bodily injury to a law enforcement officer.
• a 3rd degree felony if using a laser pointer causes serious bodily injury to a law enforcement
Ellzey continued, "It is imperative that we, as legislators, pass the needed protections to keep our law enforcement officers safe. These men and women put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities and families out of harm's way. As more and more lasers are being used as weapons, we must respond proactively. HB 2746 meets this growing safety concern and I will work hard to see it passed this session."
As a joint-author, Rep. Ellzey supports HB 2366 authored by Rep. Buckley. HB 2366 increases penalties for injuring law enforcement by using a laser pointer as well and penalties for using fireworks as a weapon against law enforcement. Both HB 2746 and HB 2366 have been presented before committees.
As the Governor has stated, “Law enforcement officers face dangerous situations every day in the name of public safety, and we have a duty to protect the men and women who protect our communities. During the nationwide riots last summer, rioters used lasers and fireworks to target law enforcement officers, resulting in serious injuries. We will not allow this in Texas."