Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell says he’s seeking a public hearing on a proposal by the Transportation Security Administration to permit passengers to carry scissors and other sharp objects onto airplanes.
Those items were banned along with others after hijackers used boxcutters to take over airplanes on September 11th. Boswell says scissors and screwdrivers are certainly weapons and he doesn’t know why they’ve done this. The change would take place December 22nd. Boswell is a democrat from Des Moines who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and says it would be a step backwards in airplane safety.
He they’ve been working hard and have had success in getting people to feel more comfortable about air travel, “So why on earth would we make this exception?” One explanation from T-S-A officials is that searching passengers for the items slows the process, and cockpit doors have been hardened since 9-11 to prevent terrorists from getting control of planes.
Boswell says even with the improvements, there’s still a potential to hijack a plane if the terrorist can take the scissors or screwdrivers aboard to use as a weapon. Boswell says he still flies his own airplane and says pilots can’t stay in the cockpit forever on long flights and have to come out sometime to go to the restroom. Boswell says it would also put a great load on the pilot. He says, “You’re sitting up there in the cockpit and some terrorist is back there killing passengers, you know it would be pretty hard for the captain or co-pilot not to say ‘well we’ve go to do something about this,’ and it’s just not that simple because they have a hardened door.”
Boswell says the hardened door is a good thing, but he says that wouldn’t prevent a terrorist from creating havoc in the back of the plane. The new rules would allow scissors less than four inches long and tools, such as screwdrivers seven inches long.