TSA officials defended the stunning move calling it a way to speed up security checkpoints with little risk. But people are speaking up and they're not happy. We spoke with an aviation expert and he say they could have handled things differently.
"It's not a bad idea but perhaps there might be a more measured response," says Richard Gifford, Aviation Commissioner of Oneida County.
Passengers will be allowed to carry small pocket knives, up to two golf clubs, ski poles, as well as sporting sticks. The TSA says the new policy will allow them to focus on more serious safety threats but the sudden change is raising nationwide concern.
"Since 9/11, the country has been on edge. They need to think through the policy a little bit more so they don't raise any alarm with the general public," says Gifford.
Gifford says he understands the concept but he asks the question, why now?
"I'm not an overly political person but the timing of everything is rather suspicious. The TSA is still going to require people to go through checkpoints, still going to screen people, it just may take a little longer," says Gifford.
A TSA working group says such items are not a threat but area residents we spoke with disagree.
"I just don't like the idea of them having anything tha'ts dangerous to anyone of the plane," says Lorraine Leaf, Utica resident.
"You can kill someone or hurt someone really bad with a small blade just as much as you can with a large blade, that was proven on 9/11 with the box cutters," says Melvin Leaf, Utica resident.
"If someone got hit with a golf club, it could seriously injure them or kill them. Simple as that, a golf club could still be used as a lethal weapon," says Alvin Roberts, Remsen resident.
Several groups have already begun speaking out calling the move a poor and short-sighted decision. These changes are set to take effect April 25th.