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WASHINGTON -- The vice president of a flight attendants union said a new policy that would allow airline passengers to carry small knives is outrageous and an official representing federal air marshals implied that the move takes air safety back to the days before Sept. 11, 2001.

On Tuesday the Transportation Security Administration announced a policy change that would allow airline passengers to carry small knives, souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment onto planes, beginning next month.

The changes announced by the TSA Tuesday take effect April 25. Box cutters, razor blades and knives that don't fold or that have molded grip handles will still be prohibited.

Sara Nelson, vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said they have to deal with unruly passengers every day. She said flight attendants are an aircraft's last line of defense, and said the new rule puts them in a much more dangerous position.

Appearing Thursday on NBC's Today, Nelson said the policy change cannot stand. She said even small knives can be deadly weapons.

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) also wants the TSA to reconsider.

It's as if we didn't learn anything from 9/11, said George Randall Taylor, head of FLEOA s air marshal unit, according to CNN.

In light of the staff and resource constraints placed on us by the sequester, why would TSA choose to elevate the risk of Americans getting injured at 30,000 feet? If the TSA policy makers were engaged in close quarter combat with a psycho wielding a 2 inch blade at 30,000 feet, they might reconsider the foolishness of their decision, said FLEOA President Jon Adler.

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