General Question

Cosmos's avatar

Excepting a locksmith who has a legal use for a set of lock picks? Is it legal for anyone to own them?

Asked by Cosmos (648points) June 7th, 2015

Obviously a locksmith has a use for lock picks but who else has a legal use for them? Considering that they can be used in aiding illegal entry is it actually legal for someone (other than a locksmith) to own them?

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8 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Police have picks for cars for when you get your keys locked on your car.

talljasperman's avatar

Also apartment buildings have master keys in the front door. Postal carriers have master keys. Meals on wheels and some social workers have master keys.

Brian1946's avatar

According to this Google page, apparently you need a locksmith license at least in CA, TN, and MD.

As I turn the pages, I see more states with licensing programs, so my guess is that only parties with a professional use for them can legally own lock-picking tools.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I know someone who is not a locksmith but was able to get a master lock pick set off the Internet, so legal or not, like most anything else, you can get them off the Internet if you know how.

jaytkay's avatar

It depends on your local laws.

Here in Illinois there’s a felony “Possession of burglary tools”. But it’s only a crime when you have, “intent to enter that place and with intent to commit therein a felony or theft”

So it’s not a crime to own lock picking tools. If you were picking locks for fun (yes, it’s a real hobby) or trying to open your own home, it would not be a crime.

But if you are caught lurking around a jewelry store at night, and you haven’t broken in and stolen anything, they can still infer you were intending to break in and charge you with a felony.

LostInParadise's avatar

In the case of at least some cars, there is another way of getting in, as I found out the hard way. I had locked my keys in the car and made a call to AAA. The guy came with a funnel type device which he managed to squeeze through the rubber surrounding the window frame. He then slipped a wire with a hook through the funnel and was able to open the lock. I had mixed feelings. I was relieved to be able to get into my car, but was somewhat upset by how easy it was to break into it.

ucme's avatar

I was sent this question & own my own locksmith business & so feel obliged to answer.
No one is legally restricted in owning a rudimentary pick set, anyone can have them.
Most modern locks are far too sophisticated anyway, if you’re prepared to pay top dollar that is.
Having them is pretty useless if you don’t know how to utilise them properly, not as simple as you see in movies.

cazzie's avatar

I believe anyone can own them, but it is the use of them that is the issue.

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