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TSA drops plan to allow small knives on planes

Small knives are seen in a bin in this undated file photo.
June 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Transportation Security Administration is dropping a plan to let passengers carry small knives onto planes.

The head of TSA made the announcement on Wednesday that in the face of fierce congressional and industry opposition, it is scuttling the plan to let passengers carry knives, souvenir bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment on flights.

In dropping the plan, the agency will instead focus on other priorities like expanding its Pre-Check program to identify ahead of time travelers who don't pose a security risk, said TSA Administrator John Pistole.

The proposal to loosen carry-on rules, which was unveiled in March, said small knives and other items can't enable terrorists to cause a plane to crash. Pistole said intercepting such items took time, which could be better used to search for explosives and other more serious threats. TSA screeners confiscate more than 2,000 small folding knives a day from passengers.

However, there was a public outcry over concern the knives and other items could be used to injure or kill passengers and crew.

In May, 145 House members signed a letter to Pistole asking him to keep the current policy prohibiting passengers from carrying small knives and other items in their carry-on bags.

The proposal would have permitted folding knives with blades that are 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) or less in length and are less than 1/2 inch (1 centimeter) wide. The aim was to allow passengers to carry pen knives, corkscrews with small blades and other knives.

Passengers also would also have been be allowed to bring onboard novelty-sized baseball bats less than 24 inches long, toy plastic bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs.

At a March hearing, Pistole told Congress that it's unlikely in these days of hardened cockpit doors, armed off-duty pilots traveling on planes and other preventive measures that the small folding knives could be used by terrorists to take over a plane.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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