Are Kirpans OK When Flying? New TSA Regulations

Do New Rules About Air Travel Affect Sikhs?

Two Inch Kirpan
Two Inch Kirpan. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is amending rules to comply with international regulations on April 25, 2013. Items allowed include small knives allowed during flights. Does this mean Sikh travelers will be able to wear a small kirpan during domestic and international flights?

When we heard that TSA would be allowing small knives, my friend and I got excited thinking that a miniature kirpan like the one above might be allowed for Sikh travelers in order to comply with religious mandate to wear kirpan, a required article of faith.

We got out a ruler and measured this miniature kirpan to find out if it would be allowed under the new guidelines.

On further investigation, it seems, we needn't have bothered. as the rules states:
"Knives with blades that are 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) or shorter, and less than a 1/2 inch wide, will be permitted on U.S. airline flights as long as the blade is not fixed or does not lock into place."

That pretty much eliminates the kirpan as it has a fixed blade, even though many ceremonial kirpans have a blade with a dull edge. Apparently the new rule only applies to carry on luggage which would  restrict wearing the kirpan even were it allowed.

("TSA will temporarily delay implementation of changes to the Prohibited Items List, originally scheduled to go into effect April 25".)

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