by BRIANNA SICILIANO Staff Writer
Transportation Security’s Administrator John Pistole announced that starting on April 25, pocket knives will be allowed in airports and on planes.
Pistole explained that pocket knives with blades up to 2.36 inches long and a half inch wide will be permitted for people to carry with them on planes. Along with these knives, passengers can bring hockey and lacrosse sticks, golf clubs, pool cues, or souvenir baseball bats that weigh up to a pound and a half.
Not every knife will be allowed for passengers to carry on, however. Boxcutters and other knives that have fixed or locking blades will not be permitted.
“Small knives no longer pose a threat to aircraft security, which now emphasizes bomb detection,” said Pistole.
Small knives were banned from airports, along with other sharp objects like nail clippers, screwdrivers, and cosmetic scissors, after al Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11.
In recent years, airports became more strict with security. Hijackings are not as much a potential threat as attempts by terrorists to bring down planes with bombs.
Supporters of Pistole, who believe that short knives should be permitted on planes, believe that these rules will be more passenger-friendly.
Pistole’s supporters also believe that the rules should focus on bombs and other threats that can be hard to detect and smuggled aboard planes.
Critics fought back, saying that even small pocket knives have safety and security risks for airline crews and passengers.
“Pocket knives can cause injuries; I don’t think it’s safe for people to bring them onto planes. They’re still weapons, they can make you bleed and cause injury,” said sophomore Alexandra Uhrig.
Knives are the most common items that security collects from surrendering passengers at screening points, aside from liquids. At Los Angeles International Airport, an average of 47 travelers surrender their knives per day.
“We find about 2,000 of these small pocket knives everyday…on average that takes two to three minutes for the bag to be opened and for the knife to be found,” said Pistole.
Time is valuable. Pistole believes that instead of searching passengers for a pocket knife, security should search for more threatening weapons.
With the new policy, the knives present an unsafe and unnecessary risk to flight attendants and other passengers. Flight attendants, federal air marshals, some pilot unions, aviation insurers, and even many airline CEOS believe that this policy should not be enforced.
An internal TSA working group recommended this policy change after deciding that these items do not represent any real danger.
Rep. Eric Swalwell criticized the new policy, arguing that threats posed by bombs do not mean knives are not dangerous.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas argued that allowing these weapons on planes could possibly cause someone to lose their life.
Golf clubs and hockey sticks seem very dangerous. With enough force, a golf club could take someone’s head off. Sports equipment being allowed as carry-ons is not a safe idea.
Weapons are weapons, no matter how big or small. They may seem harmless, but you never know who the person is that has a hold of them or of what they are capable.
“Someone could stab you with a pocket knife and injure you. It doesn’t sound smart to allow these knives on planes. Knives are weapons, after all. I wouldn’t want to sit next to someone and have them take out their pocket knife right next to me,” said sophomore Richa Patel.
The TSA has received plenty of criticism on this policy, but Pistole is sticking with his decision to put this rule into play. If an innocent passenger loses their life because of a ‘harmless’ pocket knife, it is all on Pistole.