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The TSA has dropped the proposal to allow airline passengers to carry small knives, souvenir bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment onto planes.
The proposal has drawn strong, bipartisan opposition from lawmakers, airlines, flight attendants and others who claim it would have placed passengers and crews at risk. John Pistole, TSA administrator, has told The Associated Press that dropping the proposal allows the agency to focus on other programs.
The proposal was introduced in early March (read: TSA Will Permit Knives on U.S. Planes), and it immediately sparked a firestorm of commentary from multiple sources, but Pistole continued to back his policy (read: TSA Has No Plans to Rescind New Knives on Planes Policy and Small Knives on Planes Likely in Next 30 Days).
He was quoted as defending the policy as late as June 2, saying in a speech at George Washington University that "It is the judgment of many security experts worldwide, a judgment with which I agree, that a small pocketknife is simply not going to result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft." He said that the move would let airport screeners focus on larger threats, such as IEDs and explosives.
A recent study found that 90 percent of likely voters didn't want the TSA to lift the ban on small knives that has been in place since 9/11.
And so, after "extensive engagement" with aviation interests, including law enforcement officials and passenger advocates, Pistole said Wednesday that TSA would keep the prohibited-items list unchanged, USA Today reports.