The right to bear pocket knives

The right to bear pocket knives

Maker Media’s Dale Dougherty, still guest blogging on Boing Boing, has posted an appeal to the incoming Obama administration to let travelers take pocket knives onto planes (if things like knitting needles and cork screws are allowed).

The following is a special message from American Security Theatre (AST), a group that seeks a dramatic reversal of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policies.

We hereby petition the incoming Obama administration for a modest change, an immediate change that would signal a new direction for air travelers, a new freedom for frequent fliers. Here it is: recognize the need of Americans in the friendly skies to bear tools that fit in their pocket, by which we mean the ever-so useful pocket knife, also known by its brand names, the Swiss Army Knife and the Leatherman Multi-tool.

The Right to Bear Pocket Knives


14 thoughts on “The right to bear pocket knives

  1. jay says:


    Well im all up for carrying tools on me being an electronic engineer, but why would you need it on a plane, for what purpose would you need to use tools on a plane?
    A reason they might not want to let you take a pocket knife on a plane is because as it says on the tin, its a ‘knife’ and just incase you didn’t see the 9/11 attacks, that might be why they stopped people letting them carry them. If it keeps people safe by not letting people carry knives onto a plane them im all up for it.

    Sorry to ruin your hopes but i think Obama has the same mind-set and won’t even consider your appeal.

  2. Andy says:

    It’s not about using a knife *on* the plane it’s about carrying around a knife as a matter of course.

    If you’re traveling a long distance, or with a large amount of luggage, then (if you remember) you can slip it into your carry-on. But as anyone who travels often will tell you, nobody uses carry-on unless they absolutely have to. For short flights you can spend more time mucking about with your carry-on than you do actually in the air!

    While it’s all great to rile up people’s emotions by shouting “NINE-ELEVEN!” at any possible argument. It would be nice if people would stop think think. There’s nothing magical that differentiates a knife from other sharp implements. I’m confident that if someone held the sharp point of a 4″ pair of scissors to my neck, I’d take them just as seriously as if they had held a 2.5″ knife to my neck.

    Still, I suppose the prohibition on pocket knives will protect us if Al Queda sends an army of unimaginative 98 pound weaklings at us. That’s gotta give you *some* piece of mind.

  3. paolo says:

    My perception is that, the officials know that if everyone is not going to travel nude with a full cavity check, there will still be ways to take potentially life threatening devices. Their prime objective is to make the airways seem safer to the average panic prone, fear took elector, not really make it all.

    If someone is planing a plane hi-jacking, he’s most probably spends quite a weeks planing it. There’s no doubt he’ll find a way to bring in a sharp object quite easily.

  4. Max says:

    Obama is not a maker. Obama’s cabinet has no makers. There are no professional engineers, mechanics, or craftsmen in his government. There are none who have maker hobbies or outside creative intereests. You won’t find John Galt here.

    Obama is deeply anti self defense and anti gun. Did you miss the comment he made about people who “bitterly cling to their guns and Bibles?”

    Any maker with an Obama bumper sticker on his car should feel deep shame.

  5. JAY says:

    “While it’s all great to rile up people’s emotions by shouting “NINE-ELEVEN!” at any possible argument”

    That was not my intention. I do not even live in America, 9/11 did affect not me in any way shape or form personally, what I meant is that it is a prime example of why they would not want anyone to carry a knife on a plane.

    Oh and they are beggining to regulate everything that gets on a plane, from the amount of liquids they are allowed to take on a plane to the size of sissors, so yes i would take someone serious if they held 4″ sissors up to my neck, but your not going to get them on a plane, the same as your not going to get a pocket knife on a plane and it’s never going to change unless there is world piece, even then i think they will allow it

  6. Dustbuster says:

    Max, you seem to be conflating makers with gun owners, as well as assuming that being Maker-friendly was the only, or at least a major, reason to choose a president. I would differ from you on both points, and as for deep shame, be serious. Slight annoyance, maybe. A letter to the Pres or other elected official of your choice suggesting some ideas (if you still believe in direction action democracy), perhaps.

    As someone who has mailed their Squirt home a few times now, I completely sympathize with Dale’s point, and would be very keen to see a size-of-object type rule implemented. That airline security system is a completely variable, uneven and ineffective farce, no-one would seriously dispute.

    1. Bill says:

      I’ve never understood how someone could hijack a plane with a pocketknife anyway…

      I mean if someone thinks they are going to die at the hands of a person with a 2.5″ pocket knife, what exactly do they think is going to happen if they turn the plane over to him? He will just land the plane nicely and then wave goodbye?

      Confused about that I guess…

      And it’s frustrating because when I go on a trip I can’t bring my EDC Dragonfly along.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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