The Transportation Security Administration's decision to allow small pocketknives back into aircraft cabins are being met with outrage by groups representing Federal air Marshals and flight attendants. TSA head John Pistole said that the changes will take effect on April 25 and is designed to bring the United States into alignment with international rules.

According to CNN,

Small pocketknives and an array of sporting equipment -- banned from aircraft cabins in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- will once again be allowed in U.S. planes, the head of the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday.

Knives with blades that are 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) or shorter and less than a 1/2 inch wide will be permitted on U.S. airline flights as long as the blade is not fixed or does not lock into place. Razor blades and box cutters are still not permitted.

Two golf clubs, toy bats or other sports sticks -- such as ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks or pool cues -- will also be allowed in carry-on luggage.

A union the represents 90,000 flight attendants said that the measure is "a poor and short-sighted decision by the TSA."

"Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place," according to a statement by the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions.

It's as if we didn't learn anything from 9/11," said George Randall Taylor, head of the air marshal unit of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA). "Flight attendants are going to be sitting ducks."

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) President Jon Adler said, "Pistole's decision is putting my guys at greater risk. It's not just the (Federal Air Marshal Service), it's all of my guys." He also noted that law enforcement officers are allowed to carry weapons during commercial flights.

Mike M. Ahlers writes, "The new rule will allow screeners to focus on finding explosive device components and other things that can be 'catastrophic' to a plane, speed trips through security checkpoints and 'address the hassle factor,' Pistole said."

While many focus on what the public has been told about the alleged 9/11 hijackers having pocket knives and box cutters, the reality is now anyone can be armed with a knife. I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. Just remember to carry your knife on board when you go. By the way, that should include flight attendants as well. Air marshals and law enforcement can already carry their firearms when they are on board. There really should not be a problem with this.

The real issue is that people have gotten comfortable with having government protect them from everything and they don't want to let go of that. This is what the unions are complaining about. After all, for decades these items had been allowed on planes with virtually no incident.

In addition, I don't fully understand why this has to be based upon international rules, seeing that we are to be a sovereign nation. That part is more concerning to me than people taking a pocket knife on a plane.

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