Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R,C-NY) along with Rep. Swalwell (D-CA) and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, is leading an effort opposing the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA), decision to lift the ban on knives in aircraft cabins.
The trio is currently circulating a bipartisan letter among congressional colleagues asking them to join in the opposition. The letter will be sent to TSA Administrator John S. Pistole raising serious objections to his recent decision to allow passengers to bring knives and certain sports equipment onboard airplanes.
"As a former federal law enforcement agent, I believe passenger and flight crew safety must remain a top priority, and allowing knives in the aircraft cabin puts that safety at risk. We must face the realities of a post-9/11 world and make our decisions accordingly. Lifting the ban on knives is an irresponsible and short-sighted decision that could seriously harm innocent passengers or the dedicated crew. That is why I am urging the TSA to reinstate the ban without delay," said Rep. Grimm.
This decision to lift the ban seems to have been made without consulting with key stakeholders, such as crew members and air marshals who are most likely to be confronted by someone with a knife on a plane. The Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC), which in the past has weighed in on security policies, was also not consulted. The letter urges the TSA Administrator to refrain from lifting the ban on knives and to engage with all relevant stakeholders before enacting this policy that could jeopardize the safety of flight crews, air marshals and the public.
The letter has been signed by members of Congress and is gaining support. The effort is supported by the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), and the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations.
Rep. Grimm is also the lead republican on Rep. Ed Markey's "No Knives Act," which would reinstate the ban.