GOP lawmaker: Texas stabbings show folly of TSA knife plan

The stabbing of 14 students at a Texas College showed why the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should not allow knives onto airplanes, a Republican lawmaker said Tuesday.

A student at Lone Star College in The Woodlands, Texas allegedly stabbed multiple students at the school on Tuesday using a knife that is believed to be shorter than the 2.36 inch blades the TSA is planning to begin allowing on planes this month.

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said Tuesday that the incident also showed the folly of TSA's plan.

“Today’s stabbing incident at the Lone Star College is a horrific tragedy; however, it should serve as a wake-up call to the TSA," Grimm said in a statement. "If a blade as small as an exacto knife can injure 14 students on a college campus, one can only imagine the extent of the damage in an enclosed aircraft cabin.  

“From day one, I have strongly opposed TSA’s decision to lift the ban on knives on airplanes, and today’s incident only reaffirms my beliefs that more harm than good can come out of the decision," Grimm continued. "I continue to fight in Congress to reinstate the ban, so that we can proactively prevent incidents like the one today within airplanes."

TSA announced its decision to remove small knives from its prohibited items last month.

The agency has said allowing knives on planes will allow its airport security screeners to shift their attention from spotting them as banned objects to focusing on identifying potential explosive devices.

The implementation of the change would result in knives being allowed onto airplanes for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

TSA has cast the decision as an extension of its move from a "one-sized-fits-all" approach to airport security to a "risk-based" system where factors like a passenger's criminal backgrounds are taken in account. 

The decision to remove knives from the list of items TSA prohibits passengers from carrying onto flights has drawn intense criticism from lawmakers and unions for airline workers like pilots and flight attendants.

A group of 133 House members wrote a letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole last month calling for him to reverse course on the knife policy. Additionally, a pair of senators have introduced a bill to force the agency to drop the plan to allow knives onto planes. 

Despite the congressional criticism, TSA has said that it will implement the changes to its prohibited items list on April 25.