Question on the Legality of Flashlights ...

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Sardonicus1
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Question on the Legality of Flashlights ...

in general and lumens in particular . As I was using my brand new Olight Warrior X Pro to help look for a neighbor’s cat in the woods near where I live the other night , I started to wonder what I would say if someone called the police . Not necessarily the ownership of a flashlight , but the lumen threshold . Obviously , I would not shine it into a neighbors window or a motorists or pedestrians face. However , what would I say if a neighbor called to report a prowler ? Could the police in Northern Virginia consider a flashlight with higher lumens to be brandishing a weapon ? Possibly attached to a rifle ? I’m not paranoid ( like some of my neighbors ) , but I’m just wondering if any members have had an encounter with law enforcement because of a very bright light . Thanks in advance . Innocent

SerenityNow
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I would calmly tell anyone who has a problem with it to show me the law and if they can’t produce it (which they won’t be able to), to screw off. None of their business.

Hank33
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I also thought about the cops when I’m testing my lights at night. I can only shine at certain spots at night and away from the neighbors. If I was walking at night then I would have no problems shining my light here and there but away from people or houses. Where I am one can easily walk or do a short drive to trails and forests and stuff. Actually, I would like it if a cop came up and asked me what was going on. The reason…then hopefully I can strike up a conversation about flashlights and convince him/her to join BLF. Smile I’m thinking they probably never heard of the flashlights we all use. I think they might be using Surefire maybe??

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202bigmike
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Sardonicus 1: In your post , about “what the police could consider” question , I’m curious as to:
1-What part of Northern Va. were you in ?
2-Time of night were you using the light ?
3-Were you carrying a cane , hiking stick or short tree branch at that time ?
4-What type of clothing were you wearing ?

bikenber73
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I had a neighbor who was a supervisor in the DC Police Force years ago. I showed him some of the lights I had purchased, he really didn’t care about flashlights at all, not impressed one little bit. Anyway, he stated that you could get possibly arrested for disturbing the peace if you were warned and continued to annoy your neighbors. That’s kinda a catch all for annoying people. Not sure if it would hold up in court though and the evidence would disappear from the evidence room when you tried to get your light back.

bikenber73
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I am more worried about the legality of knives here in MD. I cant seem to find any real written source on whats legal and whats not.

brad
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Finding out the true local knife laws can be tricky and usually everyone, including cops, have a useless opinion on what the laws are.

bikenber73
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brad wrote:
Finding out the true local knife laws can be tricky and usually everyone, including cops, have a useless opinion on what the laws are.
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zak.wilson
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There are specific laws about lasers, e.g. pointing them at aircraft is bad. I haven’t heard of any laws specifically restricting the use of portable lighting as long as you’re not tormenting farm animals with it. A flashlight is not a weapon. There’s no legal justification for assuming one is attached to a rifle.

Of course, the police can approach you and ask what’s going on if they find your presence suspicious, and various catch-all crimes like reckless endangerment or harassment could apply to specific antisocial acts involving portable lighting. Don’t be a jerk and you’re probably fine.

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nuemtol
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Seems like it’ll eventually become an issue. Too many stupid/arrogant people getting access to cheap powerful lights.

Someone’s going to burn something down & blame the hardware, and/or muggles will eventually get tired of putting up with assholes shining over powered lights at them & being disturbed.

Same as everything else. That’s why the nanny state exists.

everydaysurvivalgear
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The only possible rule that could broken is light pollution and light pollution here has no set standards as such. No levels of lux to exceed per meter or some thing. Light pollution falls under the EPA and is more of a civil issue.

I have a street light out front that lights up half my front yard just the way it is.

iamlucky13
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SerenityNow wrote:
I would calmly tell anyone who has a problem with it to show me the law and if they can’t produce it (which they won’t be able to), to screw off. None of their business.

How you phrase it will likely have a significant effect on their response.

Many lawyers recommend keeping it simple and asking, “am I free to go?”

Of course, make sure you know if you have a right to be where you are. If you’re looking through someone else’s woods, you might technically be trespassing, even if you’re doing so with good intentions. In such cases, being forthright (eg – “I’m helping my neighbor look for their cat.”) is likely to be your best strategy.

If you’re in a public place, although you have a right to be there, they also have a right to ask you questions. They do have to have a reason to suspect you are violating the law to require to you stop (that is to say, to detain you), and that is part of why it is recommended to clarify a situation by asking if you are free to go.

electricjelly
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This discussion made me think about a youtube video of a flashlight battle with a cop. While searching for it I couldn’t find the one I was looking for but I found several others. Apparently its pretty common. I know cops like to use flashlights and spot lights to blind civilians all the time, and sometimes the civilians turn the tables on the cops and blast them in the face with a few thousand lumens. Looks like the cops stand down a lot after that, or maybe we don’t see the videos of the times the cops don’t stand down because there no camera rolling or videos get deleted.
If there was a law against aiming your high powered flashlight in someones face, police would be violating it all the time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ETtZs7O_9E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHAYBPl7e6Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_9gI0HJKkg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK91p2tD0yc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKvUSvuxwjg

Firelight2
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My guess is you’re fine carrying a flashlight. I’m not aware of any laws making high lumen lights illegal.

High lumen lights might not even be that intrusive if they’re floody. A throwy light shined in someone’s face would be much more irritating.

That said… use common sense. Don’t shine your bright lights in your neighbors’ windows. That might be considered a nuisance or harassment. And if you think your neighbors might think you a prowler and call police, perhaps you should adjust your behavior to avoid that. Maybe turn your light down.

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Funny, ‘cause just last night there was a black Charger with a coupla yayhoos lighting up each house with a lumen-blaster going full-tilt. Might’ve been looking for a house address, who knows, but whatever light they were using was kinda floody and Angry Blue™ Sick , and would light up a whole doorway-plus from street to sidewalk. No distinct hotspot+spill, either, so who knows what kind of light it was.

And that’s the problem. Had they used a throwier light and just scanned for a house-number, it wouldn’t‘ve attracted nearly as much attention as blasting through someone’s blackout-drapes.

 

Here, my “testing” any lights involves just lighting up treetops that I can see from my backyard. And even then, I usually wait ‘til zero-dark-thirty to do it. No way do I even come near anyone’s windows with the beam.

Out in the sticks, I’d definitely keep to unpopulated areas, try like Hell to not catch anyone’s house with a bright beam, etc. And in the case of looking for a cat, keep the person’s number on speed-dial in case the local militsiya starts inquiring. Never know, they might be nice enough to even help look, but then again, get a cranky one having a bad day, and he might just want to pass it on to you.

Common sense usually works, but still be careful.

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Omega_17
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Quote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_9gI0HJKkg

Hahaha This is why there is strobe mode on flashlights.

richbuff
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I see that you have another question:

Quote:
I'm just wondering if any members have had an encounter with law enforcement because of a very bright light .
No. I have shined very bright flashlights down the middle of residential streets at night and I have never had contact with the police because of that. MM15, M43, TN36UT, TK75vnQ70, two X65's at the same time, X45, K75 and R90TS have resulted in no police contact with me. Imalent MS18 when aimed down the center of a residential street has, in my opinion, too much powerful flood to aim down the middle of a residential street. I have had contact with the police walking on the street, because after almost 9,000 pedestrian miles in residential neighborhood streets, in almost four years, I have no dog bite injuries on my legs or anywhere else on my body, but not for my neighbors at-large Shepherd breeds' lack of extreme trying, twice, with a tenth of a second to spare the first time, and a third of a second to spare the second time. No flashlight was used in my split second self defense.

Yes, it also has normal modes for normal runtime and normal heat generation.  Phil 1: 21-24

SerenityNow
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Omega_17 wrote:
Quote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_9gI0HJKkg

Hahaha This is why there is strobe mode on flashlights.

God, both the cop and guy filming were so cringy. Get a life!

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In view of the other goings-on in Va. and Commiefornia, flashlights are gonna wind up on some list sooner or later. High lumen counts will be considered weapons as will crenellated bezels. NJ will be first, followed by NY. Just wait and see if I'm not right. 

"I am the flashlight king! I can light anything!"

dorpmuller
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SerenityNow wrote:
Omega_17 wrote:
Quote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_9gI0HJKkg
Hahaha This is why there is strobe mode on flashlights.
God, both the cop and guy filming were so cringy. Get a life![/quote]

 

Followup to that: https://youtu.be/K94ePjWxKTg  and cringy is right! 

"I am the flashlight king! I can light anything!"

zak.wilson
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electricjelly wrote:
This discussion made me think about a youtube video of a flashlight battle with a cop.

I haven’t had any unfriendly interactions, but a cop did shine his light to get my attention when I was up on a mountain playing with throwers. To cut a long story short, he used his car’s loudspeaker to say “Hiker, if you’re OK, flash your light once.”

I answered with an Acebeam K70.

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Jack Kellar
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zak.wilson wrote:
electricjelly wrote:
This discussion made me think about a youtube video of a flashlight battle with a cop.

I haven’t had any unfriendly interactions, but a cop did shine his light to get my attention when I was up on a mountain playing with throwers. To cut a long story short, he used his car’s loudspeaker to say “Hiker, if you’re OK, flash your light once.”

I answered with an Acebeam K70.


That’s one heck of a response Big Smile

Mr.Scott
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everydaysurvivalgear wrote:
The only possible rule that could broken is light pollution

Kind of a corner case – but there is (may be) a Florida (or county) law against lights on the beach during turtle nesting and turtle hatching season.

LEDicrous
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Cars headlights are also quite powerful. Sometimes the car just behind mine seems to have the beam misaligned causing discomfort when looking at the rear mirror. In such a case I slow down and let that car go past. I have no way to lwt that car owner know that he needs to fix his lights.

hank
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Quote:
the car just behind mine seems to have the beam misaligned

I discovered long ago that just reaching up and wiggling my rear view mirror so it bounces the headlight back at the driver beind me usually gets the message across. Then I wave a “thank you” when he dims it or backs off.

Doesn’t always work but it can help.

hank
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Quote:
lights on the beach during turtle nesting and turtle hatching season.

Yes, the baby turtles orient toward the brightest light.

Quote:
Any light source producing light that is visible from the beach is likely to cause problems for nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings ….

… Why is light-management legislation needed?
Beaches where small numbers of turtles nest can be very important. The entire nesting range of a population may be made up of sparsely nested beaches. Hawksbill turtles, for instance, one of the most endangered sea turtles, do not nest in great numbers anywhere. Moreover, any group of nesting turtles may constitute a genetically unique and vulnerable unit. Losing even small populations may mean the permanent loss of diversity. The irony in disregarding lighting problems at sparsely nested beaches is that artificial lighting may have caused the nesting to be so low. Many lighted beaches with little nesting may again attract more nesting turtles once they are darkened….

Quote:

ALDO LEOPOLD, SAND COUNTY ALMANAC
“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: ‘What good is it?’… If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”


https://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/threats/artificial-light...
Lightbringer
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Just today I counted at least 4 douchebags driving with their brights on, and/or with one of those retarded “light-bars” on the front grille (you know the kind, the 2×N array of LEDs about 2’ wide).

One was during the day, about 10ish! Like, seriously??

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Sardonicus1
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I know a Fairfax County Police Officer who carries a Nitecore . Thanks .

Sardonicus1
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202bigmike wrote:
Sardonicus 1: In your post , about “what the police could consider” question , I’m curious as to: 1-What part of Northern Va. were you in ? 2-Time of night were you using the light ? 3-Were you carrying a cane , hiking stick or short tree branch at that time ? 4-What type of clothing were you wearing ?

1. Fairfax County

2. Around the witching hour .

3. Negative.

4. I was buck naked except a sock . Big Smile

forsh
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Lightbringer wrote:
Just today I counted at least 4 douchebags driving with their brights on, and/or with one of those retarded “light-bars” on the front grille (you know the kind, the 2×N array of LEDs about 2’ wide).

One was during the day, about 10ish! Like, seriously??

i find it worse at night when someone doesnt have lights on , mutter under my breath. go crash you bumhole!

in finland it gets quite dark in the winter and there have been people who have forgoten to put there lights on. or have “daylights” on

thats when the 5kw flood lights on the top of a suzuki vitara would come in handy
just need to get myself some 5kw flood lights and ill be good

chris

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wle
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There are not going to be specific laws about portable lighting.

But there are nuisance laws, or if you injure someone, and you can be sued for anything.

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