TSA retains knife ban for airline security

| June 14, 2013

The Transport Security Administration (TSA) has decided against allowing small knives on airline flights, backtracking on its earlier intention. Protests from flight attendants, their unions, and others who worried that even small knives could compromise airline security and passenger safety forced the TSA to retract.

Los Angeles Times reports, “TSA chief John Pistole had announced plans two months ago to lift the ban so that airport security officers could focus on bigger threats, such as explosives.” According to CBS News, “TSA screeners confiscate over 2,000 of the small folding knives a day from passengers.”

Why flight attendants and politicians protested

The Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions said, “Terrorists armed only with knives killed thousands of Americans on 9/11/2001.” As the women and men “on the front lines in the air,” they would do anything to prevent history from repeating.

protest against allowing kniveson airplanes

Flight attendants rally on Capitol Hill (image by AFGE).

TSA had countered this concern by pointing out that after 9/11, airlines were equipped with locking, reinforced cockpit doors, more armed air marshals on flights, and other airline security precautions. Still, there were others besides flight attendants who weren’t convinced.

In May, 145 House members signed a letter to Pistole, asking him to retain the current policy of not allowing passengers to carry knives on board. Other reactions included protests by flight attendant unions in Washington and airports across the U.S.

No-Weapon-Sign

View this sign here.

After getting the input from all these different constituents, I realized there was not across-the-board support that would serve us well in moving forward.” Pistole said. Even potential passengers were against the introduction of small knives on board.

According to a study done for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, only “19 percent of likely voters supported the TSA’s move to adopt a new policy.”

Although the policy was supposed to take effect on April 25, TSA postponed its implementation after the negative reactions it got from most quarters. Now, the decade old ban on pocket knives on planes will be kept in place indefinitely.

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Category: Guns, Surveillance

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