ALERT – The TSA decision regarding allowing knives on airplanes as been put on hold.
Cody, WY (March 26, 2013) – As soon as the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) announced plans to change its policy regarding prohibited knives on airlines and allow small everyday pocket knives to be carried by passengers, opponents rallied and now legislators are challenging the TSA’s decision.
Read more about the TSA’s announcements and the American Knife & Tool Institute’s involvement in encouraging this change which will be consistent with international policies in News & Updates. The American Knife & Tool Institute continues to work with TSA on clarification and through any issues. We’ll keep you posted when more information can be provided.
The TSA decision to allow small folding knives counter- intuitively improves and promotes a higher level of airline safety and security. It eliminates a category of objects which pose no risk in light of post September 2001 changes that prevent passengers from breaching the flight deck or cockpit and allows TSA personnel to focus on emerging threats.
A lot of the push back around allowing passengers to bring any kind of knife on airplanes is coming from the flight attendants’ unions and the pilots’ unions supporting the flight attendants. The main objection is concern for flight attendants’ personal safety. That perspective is unsupported when you consider all the various service industries that function without incident while patrons are permitted to carry pocket knives.
TSA Administrator John Pistole testified before the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security on March 14, 2013. During that hearing Administrator Pistole testified that the decision to allow knives was made last September. He also met on November 30,2012 with senior representatives of both the flight attendants’ and pilots’ unions and advised them. Subsequently, he had met the night before the hearing with the flight attendants. He confirmed to the subcommittee that the decision to allow knives is “solid.”
In response to questions, Pistole did an excellent job of detailing objects already onboard more dangerous than small pocket knives (wine bottles, first class knives and forks). He emphasized that changes since 9/11 (locked cabin, armed marshals, and passengers willing to fight back) allowed for the policy revisions away from focusing on objects.
Demonstrating items that have been allowed since 2005, including metal scissors with pointed tips and 4″ blades, knitting needles and 7″ screwdrivers, Pistole reported that there has not been a single incident involving them with 620 million passengers per year flying.
Objectors to changing the prohibited items on airlines miss the larger picture. Valuable TSA time and resources have been focused on objects instead of who and what are the greatest threats to aviation security. The TSA’s mandate is counter terrorism, not attempting to control every action on every plane. Their new policy on “managed inclusion” means security lines can be modified during busy times, allowing some passengers to not have to take off their shoes, get out liquids or take laptops out. Passengers will be less inconvenienced with the TSA targeting risk-based procedures and policies.
Congress has been fully apprised and in agreement with the TSA’s efforts to focus more on a risk-based and intelligence driven position, including in 2012 passing the “No-Hassle Flying Act (P.L. 112-218).
Yet, on March 12, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced U.S. House Bill 1093 titled “No Knives Act of 2013” which directs the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration) to prohibit airplane passengers from bringing aboard a passenger aircraft any item that was prohibited as of March 1, 2013. This bill has been referred to the House Homeland Security Committee. Rep. Markey led the unsuccessful fight in 2005 to stop TSA from allowing scissors and other personal items previously prohibited.
Below are the Representatives that have signed on as co-sponsors. If one of these is your Representative, contact them now. Either call or use the link to their website email system. Let them know that you agree with the TSA’s new policy about knives and oppose the “No Knives Act of 2013.”
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) Phone: 202/225-2836
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) Phone: 202/225-3371
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) Phone: 202/225-2435
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) Phone: 202/225-8273
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) Phone: 202/225-5635
Rep. Paul David Tonka (D-NY 20) Phone: 202/225-5076
Rep. Robert Bradley (D-PA 01) Phone:202/225-4731
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN 09) Phone: 202/225-3265
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL 21) Phone: 202/225-3001
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA 44) Phone: 202/225-8220
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18) Phone: 202/225-3816
Rep. James McGovern (D-MA 02) Phone: 202/225-6101
Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY 06) Phone:202/224-3121
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI 02) Phone: 202/224-3121
Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL 09) Phone: 202/225-2111
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH 01) Phone: 202/225-5456
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ 09) Phone: 202/224-3121
Democrat U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Republican U.S. Senator from Arkansas Lisa Murkowski on Friday, March 22, 2012 introduced an amendment to the Senate budget resolution that would prohibit the TSA from allowing small knives onto airplanes. Amendment #480 was not voted on when the Senate budget resolution passed. No word on whether Sen. Schumer will attempt to introduce a bill.
We’ll keep you posted if any additional action is needed. Remember the changes below are not effective until April 25th. As you travel be considerate and respectful of the TSA personnel and give them a good impression of knife owners.
Exercise caution when traveling with your knife. It would be best to error on the safe side and put your knife in your checked baggage. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items, or persons for that matter, on the plane. Also, please note that some knives are illegal in certain states and passengers will be subject to state law. It is a passenger’s responsibility to be aware that origination and destination cities may have local laws prohibiting the possession of certain types of knives (whether you have carried it onboard or have it in your checked luggage).