Covered at Reason 24/7: TSA Caves to Swiss Army Lobby; Small Knives Allowed Back on Planes

Along with some sports equipment


The Transportation Security Administration has been seizing about 47 small knives a day just from Los Angeles International Airport, according to the department's own numbers. That's going to drop significantly. TSA administrator John Pistole announced today that airline passengers will be allowed to carry small knives, as well as some types of sports equipment, that is currently banned from carry-on baggage.

Fox News reports:

Starting April 25, passengers going through U.S. airports can bring on board Swiss Army-type knives—specifically, ones with blades no longer than 2.36 inches. 

This marks the first time such knives have been allowed on board since security was heavily increased in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. …

"Frankly, I don't want TSA agents to be delayed by these," he said. 

The agency said the changes were made as part of its "overall risk-based security approach" and to align with the international standards and those of European countries. 

Box-cutters will still be banned. Not reported but personal prediction: Many TSA agents will continue to confiscate the knives regardless of the policy change.

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  1. How are they going to know if a blade is 2.36 inches?

    1. Measure it against their penis?

      1. How would they get enough of their penises lined up to do an accurate measure?

    2. If it’s a Swiss Army knife, it’s too big.

  2. Best news of the day. I’ve had to mail my swiss army knife back to me from the airport at least a couple times already!

    Maybe the days of serving airplane meals with a metal fork & plastic knife will be over too?

  3. specifically, ones with blades no longer than 2.36 inches

    This is pretty small though, right? Do most of you guys who carry a knife carry one this small? I know my bf does not…he semi-collects knives and none of the ones I’ve ever known him to actually use were this small, I don’t think. I mean even legally in Chicago you can carry one up to 2.5″.

    1. I carry a pretty common variant of the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, and it depends on how they measure. The cutting edge is about that length, but if they measure from the base, it’s a bit longer.

      I believe that the length was taken from that knife, though. It’s what they have in the picture I’ve seen — not on the TSA website yet, but in some press release I wish I could find. 🙂

        1. From that pic, they measure the blade from the “housing” to the tip. Most normal Swiss Army knives are going to exceed the allowable length when measured that way.

        2. No more than 1/2″ wide either! Holy shit.

          Check out the allowable sports equipment. Hockey stick ok, cricket bat not ok.

    2. My EDC has a 2.75″ blade, and that’s about as small as I’d be willing to go. Even my Swiss Army Knife has a longer blade than what they’re allowing.

      Funnily enough, though, a boxcutter blade would be under the limit, though I imagine it would count as a “locking” knife.

      1. Oh is “locking” going to disallow it too? Also, from the article, “Razors as well as knives with molded grips also are still banned.” What’s a molded grip? I assume the knife you linked has one. So it really is only Swiss Army-type knives then.

        1. See the link I posted above for a whole guide. Most knives other than a small Swiss Army, Stockman, etc., will be prohibited for having locking blades, shaped handles, or wide blades.

          1. Ah thanks. I love how it’s even weaker sauce than I thought.

        2. Yeah, locking knives are out.

          They seem to be defining a molded grip as anything that helps you hold onto the knife better. So, yup, basically only basic Swiss Army-style knives and other slipjoints.

        3. Ah, lovely. As a kid, I nearly cut off the tip of my finger with a non-locking Swiss Army Knife. I had bad technique, but it left an impression. I doubt I’ve even used a knife that would be TSA approved since then.

          But hey, whatever it takes to fight teh turrists. I’m sure it’s a reasoned policy and not just because a congressman’s nephew got his Old-Timer confiscated.

      2. Yeah the majority of small pocket folders are going to be 2.75″ to 3″.

  4. Archie Bunker had the best remedy for deterring highjackers. Pass guns out to all the passengers before the flight begins. After the plane lands take the guns back for use on the next flight.

    1. How about we just keep the cockpit doors closed?

    2. That was my suggest about 12 years ago when all this started. I was serious then, and am serious now.

  5. Oh this is good: “novelty bats” less than 24″ long and 24 oz. in weight are allowed.

    I will need to go find myself a 23.9″ 23.9 oz. novelty bat, stat.

    1. A lot of truck stops sell small 12-16″ or so bats that are supposedly used to test the truck tires but also make suspiciously handy, maneuverable little clubs. They sometimes have folk art carved into them as well. I wonder if those would count as “novelty” bats…

    2. I’ve been waiting for a TSA moron to object to my tennis rackets.

      1. They’ve probably been trained not to do that, since it would have the gay community up in arms.

        1. Maybe, but my real point was that I’ll take any excuse to be felt up by a stranger.

          1. That’s going to happen anyway. I don’t think they do it extra if you have tennis rackets. Unless maybe you put them in your pants.

          2. And yet you gravitate toward a sport that most people rank between Star Trek: Enterprise and leprosy.

            1. Doesn’t he like Enterprise, too?

              1. Epi likes all the worst things. You’ll often see him quoting Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

                1. And even more damningly, Attack of the Clones. He loves that shit.

              2. This from people who think Downton Abbey is the greatest TV show ever in history?


                1. Attack of the Clones? You go too far, sir.

                  And I have never seen Downton Abbey.

                  1. It’s true. Epi once invited me over for some roleplaying. He was going to dress as Capt. Archer, and he wanted me to dress as Anakin Skywalker. I said, sure, I guess. Episode II or Episode III?

                    He was like “nope, Episode I.”

  6. As already stated, this is probably going to result in the confiscation of a lot of knives that people think they can carry on but the agent doesn’t. I would like to be able to carry my mini-leatherman but not going to risk it until this has had a few months too see how it works.

    1. I think I’ll follow the same plan of action, or just get a cheapy for flying and leave my good Buck “Executive” at home for a bit.

  7. some tsirorret is going to take a swiss army knife on a plane and bring it down, and it is going to be blamed on the sequester.

    1. A few downed planes are the price we pay for civilization.


  8. So a knife with a 2.36″ blade is OK, but a boxcutter (with a much shorter blade) is not? Does this make any sense? Is it just an emotional reaction to boxcutters?

    1. Amazingly, one article I read actually quoted some TSA fool as saying that it was an emotional issue about boxcutters.

  9. Here’s the reason for the change (no proof provided):

    The TSA has trouble detecting all the small knives (despite finding many of them).

    When they are subjected to inspections (agents attempting to smuggle various items through checkpoints), they fail a statistically unacceptable amount.

    Therefore, to maintain a high standard of compliance, they merely lower the standard (by legalizing the small knives.)

    1. Makes perfect sense. Totally on point.

  10. Too little, too late. Every TSA agent should be rounded up, tried, and deported to someplace where their talents would be more appropriate; I’m thinking North Korea would be about right.

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