TSA reverses course, will keep knife ban in effect

The Transportation Security Administration, facing opposition from members of Congress, airline employees and travelers, has decided not to ease restrictions on carrying knives on airplanes.

"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," the TSA said in a statement.

Politicians and airline employees quickly hailed it as the right call.

"It seemed obvious to most travelers and airline employees that the decision to allow knives on planes was wrong, and we're glad the TSA, after further review and input, has seen it our way," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "This decision will allow TSA agents to focus on more important things than measuring the length of knives, and sorting the 'good' knives from the 'bad.'"

J. David Cox Sr., the head of the American Federation of Government Employees union -- which represents 45,000 transportation security personnel -- said the move will protect those employees and help prevent terrorist attacks like 9/11, during which the hijackers used box-cutters.

“In addition to the lessons learned on 9/11 about the threat of terrorists armed with knives, our concern is for our members who are assaulted far too often by irate passengers," Cox said. "Keeping the knife ban will help keep those confrontations from escalating."

The House -- where opposition to the change was bipartisan -- was set to vote its disapproval of the change as early as Wednesday or early Thursday.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the ranking member of the House homeland security committee, said the "TSA has reached a sensible solution that ensures the safety and security of frontline crewmembers and the flying public."

The new rule would have allowed blades up to 2.36 inches and would have matched the rules currently in place in other countries.

It would also have allowed souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment that is currently banned. Currently, such items are allowed in checked baggage but not allowed in carry-on luggage.

The policy was first announced in early March and was set to go into effect April 25, but it was delayed after the initial backlash.

The House is still set to vote on the measure -- spearheaded by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) -- which would block funding for the implementation of the changes.

Updated at 4:31 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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