FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Meredith Kelly
March 10, 2013 202-360-8132
SCHUMER CALLS FOR TSA TO OVERTURN BAFFLING DECISION TO ALLOW “SMALL” KNIVES, CLUBS AND BATS ON PLANES – MOVE PUTS PASSENGERS AND CREW IN DANGER FOR NO GOOD REASON
Transportation Security Administration Announced New Policy to Allow Passengers with Small Knives, Golf Clubs, Ski Poles and More Onboard Airliners; Since September 11th Attacks, These Items Have Been Prohibited
Schumer Calls on TSA to Reverse New Rule; Flight Attendants, Pilots and Families of 9/11 Victims All Oppose TSA Policy
Undercover TSA Agents Were Able To Smuggle A Mock Bomb Onto A Plane At Newark Airport This Week – Now Is Not The Time For Less Vigilance
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to reverse their decision to allow airline passengers the ability to carry small knives, baseball bats, golf clubs and other potentially weaponizable equipment onto airplanes. In response to the September 11th attacks, the TSA prohibited passengers from carrying these items onto planes due to security risks, but this week announced it would be ending that policy. Schumer today called on the TSA to continue to ban knives and other dangerous items from airplanes as they could potentially put passengers, flight attendants, pilots and even the structural integrity of the plane at risk. He said that the policy change posed a risk, but would provide few tangible benefits for passengers.
Schumer also noted that this week undercover federal agents were able to smuggle a mock bomb through security at Newark Airport, exposing a significant security risk. Schumer will say now is not the time to become less vigilant, and that TSA agents shouldn’t be distracted by new rules requiring them to measure the length of knives and bats.
“While it’s true that pilots are safe, locked behind cockpit doors, these dangerous items still pose a significant hazard to the flight crew, other passengers, and even the integrity of the plane,” said Schumer. “These items are dangerous, and have not become less so in the years since they were banned from planes. And with the major security breach at Newark this weekend, now is not the time for reduced vigilance, or to place additional burdens on TSA agents who should be looking for dangerous items, not wasting time measuring the length of a knife blade.”
TSA Administrator John Pistole recently announced that the agency would allow small knives, blades, small baseball bats, toy bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, ski poles, lacrosse sticks and billiard cues to be carried onboard airplanes. This is the first time in nearly twelve years that knives of any kind have been allowed on airliners. The rule, which goes into effect on April 25th, 2013, includes small knives with non-locking blades smaller than 2.36 inches and less than 1/2 inch in width.
Recently, many organizations and unions have come out against the TSA’s new rule. These organizations include Flight Attendants Union Coalition, which represents thousands of flight attendants; the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents federal air marshals and the Coalition of Airline Pilot Associations. Additionally, many family members of September 11th attacks have voiced their opposition to the TSA’s new rule.
The TSA was founded as an agency of the Department of Transportation in November 2001, when Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in response to the attacks of 9/11. Since 2003, the TSA has been an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
Schumer today called on the TSA to change their policy of allowing passengers to carry knives, small blades, baseball bats and sports equipment onto airplanes. Schumer made the case that knives and other blades can pose security threats to other passengers onboard airplanes as well as pilots and flight attendants.