WASHINGTON, June 5 (UPI) -- Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole said Wednesday he is abandoning a plan to allow small knives in carry-on luggage on U.S. flights.
The TSA said in March it would focus more on "higher threat items" and allow passengers, beginning April 25, to carry "knives that do not lock, and have blades that are 2.36 inches or 6 centimeters or less in length and are less than 1/2 inch in width" -- as well as "novelty-sized and toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs" as part of their carry-on baggage.
The announcement said the change was intended to align U.S. rules "more closely with International Civil Aviation Organization standards" and reduce the amount of time required for passengers to go through screening.
Pistole said Wednesday the decision to retain the ban on small knives and other items followed "extensive engagement" with law enforcement officials, passenger advocates and others, USA Today reported.
Sara Nelson, international vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants, which argued against relaxing the restriction, said Pistole had made "a good decision for aviation security."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the decision "will allow TSA agents to focus on more important things than measuring the length of knives and sorting the good knives from the bad."
Airline industry trade groups and unions urged Pistole to abandon the policy change, and several groups of airline workers and travelers filed a formal challenge of the new rule in May.