HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County and Myrtle Beach city leaders explained how they plan to combat the problem of green lasers Thursday night.
The Horry County League of Cities represents eight of the biggest municipalities in the area including Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and Conway.
The group is looking to take a hard and fast approach to ending the green laser problem.
At the league's quarterly meeting Thursday night, the group reviewed an ordinance to ban the sale of green lasers more powerful than one milliwatt.
The lasers have a range of several miles and can blind a pilot in a helicopter or plane.
Coast Guard officials have said the problem is so bad in the Grand Strand they might be forced to stop sending helicopters to help with rescues because people won't stop pointing them at aircrafts.
Myrtle Beach City Manager Tom Leath says that fact alone was enough to alarm league of city members into wanting to act as soon as possible.
"We see it as a very serious problem and we think there needs to be a unified front with all the cities," Leath says. "[We want] the county taking the same action, and that's what we're talking about tonight, all of the members of the league of cities to take a stand."
League members say they hope to have the ordinance passed in every municipality by the time their next meeting rolls around in January.
Also Thursday night, at an Horry County Public Safety Meeting, county officials said they plan to let members of the South Carolina legislature introduce the ban and try to have it passed statewide. Some league of city members expressed frustration that Horry County has not taken the lead on the ban, but some county officials, like Councilman Al Allen, say allowing the state to pass a ban will lead to a stronger, more uniform law.
"It would help us to assure a more even keel on a state ordinance that could be enforced without having to get so many different entities involved," Allen says. "It would have a lot more teeth on the enforcement of it also."
County officials say they're confident the state legislature will be able to pass the green laser ban before tourism season arrives next year.