TSA Reverses Decision Allowing Knives on Planes

Image: TSA Reverses Decision Allowing Knives on Planes Knives, scissors, cigarette lighters, and other items Confiscated from passengers are shown at Reagan National Airport in Washington. The small implements were banned after 9/11.

Thursday, 06 Jun 2013 09:49 AM

By Courtney Coren

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The Transportation Security Administration has reversed a decision to allow short-blade knives onto airplanes, following relentless criticism from lawmakers and consumers.

According to a statement released Wednesday by TSA, the plan approved by Director John Pistole to allow knives with blades less than 2½ inches long and other items that could be used as weapons was abandoned after listening to concerns of law enforcement, passengers and "other important stakeholders," Politico reported.

The plan would have allowed not only knives, but other items such as golf clubs and baseball bats that could have been turned into weapons. The goal behind the plan was to free up more security agents to focus on explosives rather than small items that Pistole felt no longer were a threat to airline safety because enough onboard aircraft security had been put in place to address the possibility of a hijack attempt with a small weapon.

Lawmakers were bothered that Pistole did not discuss the decision with them before announcing it.

Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York and Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts offered an amendment to a Homeland Security spending bill Wednesday to prohibit small knives on airplanes. It may have been the impetus behind the TSA reversal.

The two congressmen noted in a joint statement that Pistole had "finally acquiesced to the outcry and groundswell of opposition in Congress."

"This is a victory for every single person who sets foot on a plane, and a reaffirmation that the government listens to the people," Markey said.

Despite the TSA reversal, Grimm said, he and Markey do not plan to withdraw their amendment.

"There's nothing that stops them from reversing themselves again in the future," he told Politico. "So we're going forward with it to put this thing to rest once and for all."


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