A portable, hand-held laser scanner system located within a compact housing. The housing includes a laser tube power supply means therefor and computer means. The laser is operative when triggered by the user to produce a laser beam which exits the housing to scan a target, such as a bar code symbol, located adjacent thereto and to receive light directed from the target. The computer is arranged for decoding the reflected signal. Communication means are provided within said housing to provide data output signals. The computer is arranged to control and override the operation of the laser when the amount of laser light produced within a predetermined period of time reaches a predetermined threshold value and for enabling the laser to operate when the amount of laser energy produced is less than the predetermined threshold value within the predetermined period of time.