Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today will introduce bipartisan legislation to reverse the wrong-headed policy change by the Transportation Security Administration that allows small knives onto planes. The "No Knives Act" (H.R. 1093) would stop the new TSA rules from going into effect, freezing the permitted items list as it stands today. Rep. Markey previously sent a letter to TSA asking them to reverse the policy, but the agency is currently holding firm on its plans to allow certain knives on planes starting on April 25, 2013.
"If TSA won't reverse its policy to allow knives onto planes, then Congress will take action with this legislation," said Rep. Markey. "There is no reason for a passenger to have a knife on a plane and allowing knives on planes puts our flight attendants, pilots, and passengers at greater risk."
Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R-N.Y.) is the original Republican co-sponsor of this legislation.
Flight attendants, pilots and law enforcement officers who are put at risk by this new policy today also applauded the bill. Rep. Markey today held a press conference at Boston's Logan Airport with flight attendants and a pilot decrying the new permissive rules.
"As first responders and the last line of defense on the aircraft, flight attendants are charged with keeping the passengers safe," said Sara Nelson, International Vice President for the Association of Flight Attendants and a Boston-based United Airlines flight attendant. "Does allowing knives onboard make us safer? Absolutely not. We commend Congressman Markey for his leadership on this issue, and for making the safety of passengers and flight attendants a priority."
Jon Adler, the National President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) said, "FLEOA applauds Rep Markey's bill which recognizes the non-negotiable need to protect everyone in the cabin and not allow any knives on commercial flights."
"We believe that the threat is still real and the removal of any layer of security will put crewmembers and the flying public unnecessarily in harm's way," said D. Michael Karn, President of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations and a 21-year veteran of the airline industry.
In 2005, TSA first relaxed post-9/11 rules to permit potential bladed weapons onto passenger planes in carry-on baggage. In response, Rep. Markey joined flight attendants to fight the relaxed rules, including pushing his "Leave All Blades Behind Act" that would have kept intact the ban on razor-sharp implements like scissors or small knives. However, the TSA refused to reverse course.
The new TSA rules permit folding knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches and narrower than 0.5 inches to be carried into aircraft cabins, the first time since 9/11 that knives would be able to be carried aboard airplanes by passengers.