Lock Picking Center

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Locks and Lock Picking

Locks range from a stick put through an opening in a tree house door to prevent it from being opened, to tubular locks that provide superior security. There are the pin-and-tumbler locks found in padlocks. A bit easier to pick are wafer-tumbler locks installed in most filing cabinets, lockers, cars, and some padlocks.

Some people are fascinated by the workings of locks, as evidenced by the wealth of information available. To pick a lock, a professional locksmith must understand the workings of various kinds of locks. A good locksmith must develop the sense of touch to be sensitive to the slightest movements of pins and tumblers. Sensitivity and concentration characterize the person whose profession is locksmith.

Lock Picking Center: About Tools of the Trade

Lock picking is the manipulation of a lock's components to open it without a key. Since locks are designed to prevent being opened without a key, lock picking has a certain mystique about it. A delicate operation, lock picking does no damage to any surroundings, if done well.

It is true that a good lock picker can use a screwdriver and paper clip to open some locks. On the other hand, there are lock pick sets used by locksmiths in which the picks are made of tempered stainless steel and come in a range of sizes.

Is It Legal to Carry Lock Picks?

That depends. In some states, it is illegal to carry lock picks. In other states, the law seems to permit carrying "burglar tools," such as, picks, crowbars, and specialty keys, but use of these tools to commit a crime is a crime itself! Possession of these items that might potentially be used in burglaries can be used as evidence against you if you are found in suspicious circumstances.

At least one state appears to make these tools illegal if they can work vehicle locks. The laws pertaining to possession of lock pick tools are often in the context of discussing burglary, vehicles, or locksmith regulations. Unless you are a licensed locksmith, you could be asking for trouble by carrying locksmith's tools. Determine the applicable laws in your area and state, and determine the laws that apply to your circumstances, whether you are a locksmith, repossession worker, or building maintenance worker.

Going Into Business

Getting training is easy; getting hands-on experience is a little more difficult to come by. Many web sites have listings of books and videos on the subject. There are online courses, books, journals and magazines, and locksmith associations that can provide information about how to get training.

Some states have stringent regulations for becoming a locksmith. In some states, you must be licensed, and one state requires you to also have a contractor's license, unless you only do small jobs. There is much to learn to be a good, ethical locksmith. Part of going into business in this field is knowing and following all the laws that apply.

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