Cody, WY (June 5, 2013) – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today that it now will not allow small pocket knives, hockey sticks and golf clubs on airlines.
Proposed new guidelines for small pocket knives on airplanes would have aligned the TSA Prohibited Items List with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Prohibited Items List and made travel more consistent for international passengers. TSA had planned the change in order to take valuable resources and use them on more immediate and greater terrorist threats, but now its administrator has decided against the change.
“After extensive engagement with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, law enforcement officials, passenger advocates, and other important stakeholders, TSA will continue to enforce the current prohibited items list,” Administrator John Pistole said.
Pistole said he made the decision to maintain the current prohibited items list because he is seeking a partnership among interest groups for aviation security.
In early May, nine groups filed a legal challenge with TSA and the Department of Homeland Security to prevent the return of knives into plane cabins. They warned they would fight any policy change in court.
These groups included the American Federation of Government Employees representing TSA security officers; the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, including air marshals; the consumer group FliersRights.org; the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at 20 airlines; the Association of Professional Flight Attendants at American Airlines; the Allied Pilots Association of American pilots; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Teamsters; and the Transport Workers Union.
While the decision to keep small pocket knives off of planes was made by the TSA’s Pistole, criticism from these organizations encouraged Reps. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., to propose legislation that permanently prohibits knives on planes. They were hoping to attach the legislation on the House floor today as an amendment to a funding bill for Homeland Security.
It is unfortunate that these organizations and lawmakers do not recognize that the threat to passengers and airline workers is no greater from a small pocket knife than from knitting needles, 4-inch scissors, or other items allowed on board without issue. Items already on each aircraft could also be potential weapons if someone so chose.
Watch CBS Senior Correspondent explain Why TSA Reversal on Knives Might Compromise Security.
The American Knife & Tool Institute will continue to work with the TSA on ways to make airline traveling with valuable tools easier. The fact that TSA considered allowing knives back on airlines is a HUGE step in the right direction of acknowledging knives as an essential and valuable tool daily for Americans.