Geiger Counter Possession = JAIL

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Re: Geiger Counter Possession = JAIL

Post by bpaddock » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:59 am

>Mark Rowley wrote:
> What a bunch of moronic stupidity! New York is passing a law to outlaw geiger counters and any >other type of detection equipment from the general population. This is not a joke. Read on, you will >be quite amazed.

Sensors magazine had an interesting editorial on
this: ... ?id=488255

Technically it looks like an Indoor/Outdoor thermometer could
be considered illegal.

Bob Paddock

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Re: Geiger Counter Possession = JAIL

Post by drbuzzo » Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:24 pm

It would not be the first time that a law this boneheaded has gotten innocent people in trouble. I hope that there aren't any collectors of civil defense equipment or anyone who has an old prospecting geiger counter getting arrested.

I have purchased, cleaned up, fixed (if necessary), and recalibrate a number of Geiger counters or other detectors which I then gave away or sold.

One I gave to an 8th grade science teacher in New York. The idea was not to detect dirty bombs but to demonstrate the radioactivity of things like brazil nuts, granite, substitute salt and so on to the students and show that there's always background radiation. Also, to show the effects of shielding.

I also gave her two century lantern mantles, a piece of vaslene glass and a small rock which I found to be much higher than the background (visually it looks like it contains uranium but it might be thorium). She also told me she added an old clock which a student brought in to see if it was radioactive to the collection (he said she could keep it.).

I'm wondering now if I should call her and tell her to send this all back to me, or if perhaps I should go there and get it back. I do not want to violate the law by taking possession of it and transporting it out of the state, but I feel somewhat responsible as I would not want her to get arrested for it because I gave these away to science teachers!

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Carl Willis
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Re: Geiger Counter Possession = JAIL

Post by Carl Willis » Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:46 pm

I think this episode was just a transient spasm of paranoia, of the kind that occasionally besets the woefully under-informed American populace these days but is typically righted in the long term when saner heads prevail.

Radiation detector owners in New York do not need to be worried about anything! They do not need to exert any personal effort to "comply" with the law and thereby legitimize it. If not gone already, it will be soon, because on straightforward Constitutional considerations it does not hold up. Keep in mind, this was a city council thing. City councils routinely pass unconstitutional ordinances infringing on the 1st Amendment in particular because the council members are just too gol-durned stupid. All these mistakes do ultimately is bring derision and expenses upon a municipality and its leadership. Rarely do they even last long enough for a test case to get heard. The sky is not falling here.

Carl Willis
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