Proposal Drew Fierce Opposition From Lawmakers, Airlines, 9/11 Victims

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — The head of the Transportation Security Administration says he’s dropping a proposal that would have let airline passengers carry small knives, souvenir bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment onto planes.

The proposal had drawn fierce opposition from lawmakers, airlines and others, including relatives of 9/11 victims, who said it would place passengers and crews at risk.

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John Pistole told The Associated Press that dropping the proposal allows his agency to focus on other programs.

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 TSA has finally done the right thing by cancelling this policy,” Long Island Rep. Peter King told 1010 WINS. “Whatever changes they’re going to make, they should have done it working with air marshals, working with flight attendants and instead they just went ahead and announced this policy unilaterally and it caused a lot of concern and a lot of worry.”

King believes the move will make people less fearful of flying.

“The fact is that planes are safer now than they’ve ever been and whatever the TSA hoped to achieve by allowing people to bring knives on planes that’s all forgotten now, that’s gone,” King said.

When Pistole released the proposal in March, he said the knives couldn’t enable terrorists to cause a plane to crash.

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At the time, the agency said the change was “part of an overall risk-based security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives.”

The Flight Attendants Union Coalition blasted the decision, saying: “To permit knives back into the aircraft cabin is a poor and shortsighted decision by the TSA. Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place.”

TSA screeners confiscate over 2,000 of the small folding knives a day from passengers.

The agency had recently amended its shoes-off policy to allow older travelers to keep their footwear on when going through security.

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