TSA scuttles plan to allow small knives on planes
(NBC News) - The head of the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday he's dropping a proposal that would have let airline passengers carry small knives, souvenir bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment onto planes.
"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," a TSA spokesperson told NBC News. "TSA’s top priority continues to be expansion of efforts to implement a layered, Risk-Based Security approach to passenger screening while maximizing resources. "
The proposal had drawn fierce opposition from lawmakers, airlines and others who said it would place passengers and crews at risk.
"We commend the TSA for revising its policy," Veda Shook, president of the Association of Flight Attendants International, which actively campaigned against knives being allowed on planes, told NBC News. "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, we vowed to do everything in our power to protect passengers and flight crews from harm and prevent that type of atrocity from happening ever again."
“This decision is the right one for the safety and security of every Transportation Security Officer, airline passenger and aviation employee,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement.
“We applaud this as a victory for common sense,” Gregg Overman, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association told NBC News.
Last month 145 House members signed a letter asking Pistole to keep the current policy that bars passengers from carrying aboard knives and other items.
"The writing was on the wall," Corey Caldwell, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants told NBC News. "We are very happy that the TSA is not moving forward."
When Pistole released the proposal in March, he said the knives couldn't enable terrorists to cause a plane to crash.
TSA screeners confiscate over 2,000 of the small folding knives a day from passengers.
NBC News contributor Harriet Baskas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.