I am not sure what the atmosphere was like prior to September 11th 2001, but I can tell you that post 9/11 the Federal Bureau of Investigation takes any incidents of assaults on aircraft seriously. Whether that is shooting at an aircraft, or pointing a laser at an aircraft.
Now to be honest, there are so many laser incidents that I don't really get excited about reporting them anymore. You sometimes wonder if reporting them does more harm than good anyway.
Regardless, an Orlando Florida man just felt the wrath of the Federal Justice System when he was sentenced this week to 12 1/2 years in Federal Prison for shooting at an Orange County Florida Sheriff's helicopter back in March of 2010. The suspect, 27 year old Jason Dennis McGuire, was presumably upset about the helicopter noise, but tried to convince the jury that he was suicidal and just fired the gun up in the air, and into a palm tree.
Not buying his argument the jury convicted McGuire on charges of attempted destruction of an aircraft, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and for using a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
Twelve years in prison is a pretty serious (although well deserved) price to pay for one moment of felony stupidity.
Source: Orlando Sentinel