Senators file legislation to block small knives on airplanes

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have filed legislation to block the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from allowing small knives on airplanes.

Schumer announced the legislative effort, which would force the TSA to reverse its decision to remove knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches from its list of prohibited items, on Twitter.

“Introduced amendment to prevent TSA from allowing passengers to carry small knives onto planes again with @lisamurkowski,” Schumer tweeted.

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The effort in the Senate follows a letter from 133 House members to TSA Administrator John Pistole that called for him to reconsider the knife decision.

Pistole has told lawmakers that removing knives from its prohibited items list would allow airport security screeners to focus on searching for explosive devices.

"That's what risk-based security is all about, trying to identify what are the most significant risks ... and making sure that our officers and our entire national U.S. government national security team is trying to be as precise and focused on those threats that cause the greatest damage," Pistole said while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee this month.

TSA has thus far resisted pressure from lawmakers to reverse the knife decision.

The agency has said that allowing small knives on planes "aligns [U.S. airport security] with international standards and our European counterparts."

“TSA is taking small knives, novelty-sized bats and certain sporting equipment off of the Prohibited Items List starting April 25, which will allow Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives and/or improvised explosive device (IED) components," the agency said in a statement after Pistole announced the change in a speech.