After firestorm, TSA nixes notion to allow pocket knives in passenger carry-ons

Transportation Security Administration’s effort to expand what passengers can bring onboard met with vast criticism

tsas proposed changes

After a major conflagration of criticism from Congress and flight attendants over the Transportation Security Administration's proposed  decision in March to let a bunch of previously prohibited items such as small pocket knives on aircraft as carry-ons, the TSA has had  a change of heart.  

TSA Administrator John Pistole today told the Associated Press the agency would not pursue the changes and focus on other important security areas.

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As recently as May 28 in a speech to the Homeland Security Policy Institute, George Washington University, Pistole had said the decision, most notably to allow  small, folding pocket knives was "met with both criticism and support by passengers, members of Congress, the news media and industry stakeholder groups. I have personally met with many of those who oppose my decision and I understand and appreciate their concerns.  I went to Capitol Hill and answered lawmakers' questions regarding these changes, including discussions in a classified setting to share with them some of the intelligence that helped form the basis for my decision. While our original intention was to make these changes effective at the end of April, we are still gathering input from key stakeholders and have delayed implementation until that process is complete.  For context, back in August 2010, the International Civil Aviation Organization changed aviation security standards to permit knives with a blade length of 6 cm or less to be carried in the cabin of aircraft. Since that global change, and excluding U.S. originating passengers, there have been more than 5 billion commercial airline passengers worldwide allowed to carry these knives.  We are unaware of any report of a security incident aboard any commercial aircraft worldwide involving these items."

The changes  the agency said was to let Transportation Security Officers better focus their efforts on spot higher threat items such as explosives and guns. Had the changes been implemented, travelers would have been able to bring onboard:

  • Small Pocket Knives - Small knives with non-locking blades smaller than 2.36 inches and less than 1/2 inch in width will be permitted
  • Small Novelty Bats and Toy Bats
  • Ski Poles
  • Hockey Sticks
  • Lacrosse Sticks
  • Billiard Cues
  • Golf Clubs (Limit Two)

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