Late on Monday, April 22, the US Transport Safety Administration (TSA) announced it would delay implementation of its rule to relax restrictions on small pocketknives on board airplanes.
Previously, TSA intended to proceed with the new regulations and maintained that last week’s Boston Marathon bombings would not delay implementation or cause any changes to the new carry-on rules for pocketknives, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times, citing a TSA spokesman. These regulations were scheduled to go into effect on Thursday, April 25.
The new rules would have allowed passengers to carry small folding knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches and some other previously banned objects such as golf clubs on airplanes.
Many members of the US House of Representatives as well as airline cabin crew unions and passengers oppose the relaxation of the knife-carrying rules. The opponents of the new rules renewed their protests after the Boston bombings citing greater security threats.
TSA maintains that airport security resources are better deployed identifying more substantial threats. Security personnel expend considerable time identifying and confiscating small pocketknives that have a low risk factor. This increases the processing time for airport security checks and may impact the resources available to concentrate on higher risk threats.
Opponents maintain that the pocketknives could be used to injure and subdue passengers. One frequently used example is that a knife could be used as an attack directed toward someone’s eye. Yet many items, including knitting needles, some ballpoint pens and even bony elbows, currently allowed on airplanes could also do bodily harm.
What do you think? Will you be concerned on your next flight if the passenger sitting next to you has a small Swiss Army knife? Or will you be one of the people bringing one on-board?