TSA to Allow Certain Knives on Planes, Again

At an aviation conference in New York, TSA administrator John Pistole said that effective April 25 the TSA is lifting its ban on small knives in airplane cabins.

Pistole said that the allowable knives will be limited to “retractable blades shorter than 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) and narrower than 1/2 inch at the widest point.” It appears from the March 2013 Changes to Prohibited Items List (PIL), that by “retractable,” he meant “folding.” Still prohibited will be “knives with locking blades or molded handles,” Pistole said. Fixed blade knives are also prohibited.

Somewhat disconcerting is the use of the term “molded grip,” which  is not an industry standard descriptive term. It would appear to include any handle that is at all ergonomic and exclude anything but a slab-sided SAK or multi-tool. As such, will the Wenger Evo or Evo-Grip Swiss Army Knife handles be allowed or prohibited?  Beyond that, at least one of the knives illustrated as having a “molded grip” clearly has an ergonomic metal handle, which is not molded plastic. Hence, molded grip does not appear to be related to the material that the handle is made from or compromised of.

As to whether a particular knife will be allowed through a security checkpoint, that decision lies with the TSA. I would not be surprised to learn that TSA officers will be confiscating knives, which are illustrated as allowed in March 2013 PIL, because of a lack of training. Of course, this opens them up to Bivens actions…let the fun begin

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