Re: Dangerous, stupid and highly illegal"
"I suspect this increasing stream of reports in the press will be followed by banning them entirely."
That's already happened in Australia. Several years ago the government banned all laser pointers over 1 mW, except for members of registered astronomy clubs. You have to prove membership in such a club to be able to import a >1 mW laser pointer, and there's a safety training course you have to complete to be qualified to use one.
Essentially the safety course warns about never pointing them at aircraft, always checking to see if there are any aircraft in the vicinity you're aiming at before operating the pointer, and being aware of high-altitude ice scattering the beam in ways that aren't always visible from the ground, etc.
They're classed as Category A firearms, which I thought was actually quite cool - I'd been waiting since I was a kid for the sci-fi moment when laser guns would be recognised officially as weapons!
But of course that means that if you are caught in possession of one without an astronomy-club exemption you get charged with possession of an illegal and unregistered firearm - which in this country is a serious and imprisonable offence.