Knives on planes rule being delayed

Head of TSA wants passenger advocates, law enforcement experts to weigh in


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A controversial rule that would have allowed knives on commercial flights is being delayed.

It was supposed to go into effect Thursday, allowing passengers to carry on small knives and some other banned items.

The head of the Transportation Security Administration announced Monday that officials wanted to allow the airline industry, passenger advocates and law enforcement experts to weigh in on what should be allowed on planes.

The policy change has been met with strong opposition from flight attendants, more than 100 members of Congress, families of 9/11 victims and its own air marshals.

In fact, 133 members of Congress signed a letter addressed to TSA Administrator John Pistole. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., who boarded a plane Tuesday in Jacksonville bound for Washington D.C., said the idea to allow pocket knives on a plane is "downright stupid."

"That was one of the stupidest decisions ever made," she said. "There are already problems and disturbances with the stewardesses that they have to deal with all the time. Let's not put the safety of the traveling public at stake. This was a poor decision."

The change that was supposed to take effect Thursday would have allowed people to carry knives with blades smaller than 2.36 inches long and less than half an inch wide onto planes.

This would have been the first time pocket knives would have been allowed back on planes since Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists with box cutters hijacked four commercial flights.

When first announced on March 5, the TSA chief said airport security screeners needed to concentrate on greater risks to air travel.

"Knives are dangerous. They haven't become any less dangerous since 9/11," New York Sen. Charles Schumer said. "Let 'em start with things like this -- shampoo, hair cream and toothpaste, which drives passengers crazy."

But faced with opposition, the head of TSA wants passenger advocates and law enforcement experts to weigh in. Law enforcement trainer and consultant Gregory DiFranza did just that.

"I would be highly shocked if a law enforcement group says this is a great idea," said DiFranza, of WinFirst International. "I was highly shocked that this was even a consideration."

DiFranza said any sharp-edged object strikes fear in the public, and following recent attacks on America like the Boston bombings, he said there should be zero tolerance.

"If you're going to have civilians, law enforcement all reaching a consensus, security is not a consensus, it's something everyone needs to take seriously," DiFranza said.

The policy change that was supposed to take effect Thursday would have also allowed some other banned items on board, like hockey sticks and golf clubs.

No date has been given on how long this would be delayed.