Is it time for federal licensing of locksmiths?

Since the locksmithing industry insists on a security by obscurity model where they are the trusted parties isn't it time to actually make sure they can be trusted? In many areas locksmiths are not licensed at all. In those areas where they are background checks are typically limited to criminal record checks every few years. Obviously that isn't often enough. Perhaps locksmiths should be regulated at the federal level and subjected to the same sort of exhaustive background checks done for security clearances. The FBI could look not only into their criminal records but their mental stability, employment stability, and their financial situations. After all someone mentally unstable or with financial problems poses an obvious security risk. Someone with poor credit who doesn't pay their bills is obviously dishonest and cannot be trusted. All findings would then be considered with regard to whether the person in question is a good security risk or not. It should make no difference how long somone has been working as a locksmith. They should all have to pass the background check or they will not be allowed to work in that trade anymore. Remember locksmiths, you demand that only 'trusted' people should have access to 'sensitive' information. This procedure would simply make sure that you really can be trusted. .

Reply to
Tim Mathews" <Tim
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actually, we dont, the people do.. BUT..

trivia.. did you know if the doctor gives you a prescription for a drug, and you have an adverse reaction to it, you CANNOT NOW SUE the manufacturer for taht-no matter if it leaves you paralized or whatever?? Federal LONG as that drug is approved by the FDA, the manufacturer CANNOT be sued now... and you want MORE gov in your life?? ROFLMAO


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Hello Tim,

I'm curious of your profession, you appear very intelligent yet seem to have a low tolerance for humanity...MENSA member perhaps?

Most professional security fields divide the task of integrity checking between the federal, state and employer levels. The background check performed seems to be measured by the potential to take life, as opposed to taking property. Most people are not even reviewed federally unless a firearm or security clearance is involved.

Depending upon the profession and threat exposure, you could be checked for criminal history, but the employer usually does any drug test and checking financial history etc. Employers are more likely to ask if you have ever declared bankruptcy than if you have any history of mental illness.

It's when someone puts out a shingle and becomes self-employed that people with questionable backgrounds are more likely to be given a level of trust they are unworthy of.

I agree that most security professions where assets or personal information are being protected, that a higher degree of check-and-balance needs to exist. In the field of locksmithing the ALOA and other organizations have argued this for years, yet we still have fraud and embezzlement practices with no measure of prevention (NY and NJ has countless examples of this still happening today).

Most states do have locksmith registration licensing where backgrounds are checked every year or 2, security officers (even armed) follow the same measure.

Even careers that require firearms carry only focus on the persons ability to fire the weapon, no additional checks related to criminal or medical/mental backgrounds occur beyond any initial inquiries. (Frankly I'm more worried about the guy carrying guns, than the guy carrying lock picks...)

Most states also require that you have a contractors license and/or business license to tender services above a set amount ($200-500 depending upon the state).

Federal regulation of anything seems to be a bad idea, since they tend to fall into LCD draconian measures. Firearms and medical drugs are once again classic examples, and lets not even bring up federal controls like the FAA, FDA, HSA, etc. It's bad enough today when so many federal and state laws conflict, since something might be ok in your state, but if you get the feds attention the same issue becomes prosecutable.

Regards, David

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I got a real funny idea.. he got his car stolen once..


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I think you are basicly just looking for people who have argued in favor of security by obscurity to argue against regulation so you can turn their arguments around and say: "Well if we don't have regulation then how do we know the people we trust with the supposedly obscure information can actually be trusted". This is, IMHO, an argument that has some potential to logically succeed and may be very difficult to counter, but like the SOB I am I am going to do an end run around it and ask you under what constitutional power the federal govt has the authority to regulate the locksmithing trade? If they don't have the constitutional authority then all arguments why it should be done are moot. So are they going to tempt fate with a new and more conservative supreme court by once again stretching the interstate commerce clause to the breaking point or what?

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Simpler explanation is trolling.

I'm going back into lurk mode for a while, I think. Expect me when you see me...

Reply to
Joe Kesselman

Tim, Federal licensing is definitely overkill.Way way too much time and money spent on matters that are left up to the state in which the locksmith operates or resides. The state I live in and operate does not require a license, but I have a local license. If my state decided to license-I'd have no problem with that, but does'nt mean I am all for it.

The exception would of course be the locksmiths employeed by federal branches-which I am positive they get their hair clipped, blood taken, and life history for what it's worth.

Background checks? I have been employed 22 years by the state that I reside in, so they got prints, credit records and all that good crap.

I have seen people get hired on, then a few weeks later someone in brings up a history and pop!-they are escorted away with no questions asked and very few questions answered.

Also, when i signed up for my last class I took and some before, fingerprints, credit record,all that crap.-It gets to be just crossing t's and dotting the i's. It gets to be normal everyday crap that you really could give a shit about.

When I was bonded years ago-same story-

I also have accounts with 4 wholesale suppliers.-No prints or life history-plenty of credit checks.


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Actually federal licencing of doctors, dentists, lawyers, professional engineers, etc would be a good idea and would cut out much of this anti-competitive crap.

For example, professional engineers qualifications are cross-recognised around much of the world with USA being a glaring exception - the reason being trying to include USA would be like trying to herd 52 or so cats.

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There is no need for a federal licensing. Simple state, county, or city licensing is better. Background checks are mostly pointless -- the worst security risks don't have a background, and they don't get caught. And there is a new criminal every day who has no obvious aura of evil about him. Someone with poor credit and who can't pay bills is poor, and a locksmithing job would be exactly what could get them out of his rut. Personal money troubles is nothing to discriminate about; the crucial focus what they did with their previous employer's money, and if their criminal record involves anything that is theft-related. Mentally instable persons may qualify for a disability according to federal law, and excluding someone based on mental illness can be considered discrimination of a disabled person, which is illegal. If someone is smart enough to be obsessed with locksmithing, and they can make a living at it, let them have a legitimate business. Otherwise, they might go the hard way and satisfy their tinkering cravings illegally. If Joe Schmo was an ex-con with bad credit, but does a fantastic job as a locksmith and it keeps him from resorting to his old ways, at a price that's good for the consumer and the business owner, let him locksmith. Last thing you want is the federal gov't to get involved -- they'll ban paperclips on airplanes to keep the potential locksmither terrorist from picking open the cockpit cabin door.

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The people do??? You mean like the people who come here and ask how to bypass this lock or that and are refused any information by the so called locksmiths here? Those people?


Made up federal regulations asside you certainly haven't provided any reason why not. It wouldn't be in my life anyway. I have made it very clear I'm not locksmith.

Reply to
Tim Mathews" <Tim

Self employed. Investment.

you appear very intelligent yet seem to have

A rather vague statement.

MENSA member perhaps?


The federal govt has little to nothing to do with integrity checking of locksmiths unless perhaps they do work for the federal govt.

How do you figure that? Background checks are routinely performed on people who will have access to classified information.

Ok this is true.

Employers often do no checking to speak of.

Employers are more likely to ask if you have ever

Few will actually verify your answers to either question.

You seem to be making the case for aditional regulation for me.

Define "most staes". And even those that do typically just run a criminal check. That doesn't rule out those with serious financial or emotional problems who can still pose a security risk. Such people will not get a security clearance at the federal level even if their criminal records are spotless. You will not get a job in most financial institutions with bad credit either. They consider it a risk factor.

How do you figure this? Police officers and many if not all armed security guards are subjected to psychological screening.

(Frankly I'm

I'm not especially worried about either. The level of access to potential targets enjoyed by locksmiths in addition to their access to information and tools is what makes them a special threat.

Personally I am not a fan of federal regulation. However, the locksmithing industry has put itself in a unique position. The argument is constantly advanced that 'sensitive' information should only be available within the trade. Obviously if this approach is to work (it's doomed no matter what but here just for the sake of argument let's just pretend it could work) obviously some means is needed to ensure that those in the trade can be trusted. From your own words clearly they cannot be: "In the field of locksmithing the ALOA and other organizations have

If the trade really believes in security by obscurity as it certianly seems to it should be the highest priority of those in the locksmithing trade to promote regulation to ensure that only the most carefully scrutinized individuals are allowed in, that is of course if the interest of the trade at large is really security and not simply profit.

Reply to
Tim Mathews" <Tim


Background checks are mostly pointless -- the

Make a note to the feds. I'm sure they will scrap all background checks of employees with access to classified information ASAP.

And there is a new criminal every day who has no obvious aura

This is why you run for more than just criminal history. The criminal check is the tip of the iceberg with a background check for a security clearance at the federal level.

Someone with poor credit and who can't pay bills is

Yes it could well get them out of this rut by stealing from those who's security they are supposed to protect. Try getting a job virtually anywhere in the financial sector with poor credit. You won't because they recognize it as a serious risk factor. Any job that requires a SERIOUS background check will disqualify you for bad credit because it shows you are unreliable and also likely have money problems which makes you more inclined to steal or sell sensitive information.

Yes it is. People with financial problems will do desperate things to solve those problems and that makes them a security risk.

So you are in essence telling me if a mentally disabled person wants a job providing security for the nations nuclear arsenal or the arming and launch codes for same he should have it because it isn't OK to discriminate?

How do you know they will have a "legitimate" business?

LOL Sure. The bonding companies are standing in line to bond locksmiths with felony convictions. Write them the same memo you send the feds to get them to scrap those background checks.

Reply to
Tim Mathews" <Tim

This is actually a pretty good response, however it doesn't cover all the locksmiths who live where there is no license at all and it doesn't cover checks above and beyond simple criminal checks for employes who don't get credit checked by suppliers even where there is a license requirement. By creating an elitist class of security professionals who are supposedly more trustworthy than the public at large your trade provides the strongest arguments for federal licensing.

Reply to
Tim Mathews" <Tim

what ? an occupational license. if so? thats just so you can be a local sales tax collector for your city. thats how it use to be here before state licensing.

state licensing is really a good idea for the locksmith, state and the general public. although, like you, I use to think NOT.

Reply to

So does that mean you are for or against federal licensing of locksmiths specifically?

Reply to
Tim Mathews" <Tim

You think?

This is, IMHO, an argument that has some potential

Yes, it is isn't it.

but like the


and ask you under what

That's a good question. Yes I think if it were done it would be done under the commerce clause since most locks and locksmithing products move in interstate commerce, same as guns. There would probably be overtones of national security too. No I wouldn't want to be the lawyer over at Justice that has to make the argument in front of the Roberts supreme court, but it could take a long time to get there and cause an elitist industry, that lets face it should be all behind it if they really want security by obscurity to work, a lot of problems in the mean time.

Reply to
Tim Mathews" <Tim

their pocketbooks, actually.. WE the locksmiths cannot 'force' the manufacturer to change the house locks for better security.. the percent of business we give the manufacturer is a VERY small piece of the pie so to small, that probable if all the smiths in the US SUDDENLY quit buying a certain brand, the company might not even notice..

those people are just an EXAMPLE- I lost my keys, bla bla and am too cheap to just BREAK it off and replace.. give me free..

not now.. its done passed

we know that..


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What area do you mean? I've never heard of anybody running a locksmith business without a license being required. Unless you mean In-House locksmiths? Clarify for me.


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How did "locksmith" get translated into "government nuclear code-breaker"? The paranoia is out of proportion to the risk. I think the FBI doesn't give a crap about anything less than national-level threat and they won't make a case for it until it goes beyond a state level, and they're not going to dilute their organization with this background chore -- that's a job for a different independent security agency. A federal probe and restrictions aren't going to reduce any criminal levels -- instead, you're going to get more law-breaking. You're handing the government another roll of red tape, another chance to tax citizens, and another way to increase unemployment and add felons to the overpopulated jail system with this license idea.

In a psychological perspective, I think you want to twist the system to reduce your competition to make you look better. Just another gimmick on the side of your van: "federally licensed" to make the naive believe you're safer than the others. Maybe a voluntary federal-level license would be better than mandatory, but it doesn't guarantee that federally-screened and federally-licensed equals federally-secure. Maybe if there is a ban, it's for a limited amount of time, not for a lifetime, unless you like the idea of American-dream castration. What if your credit was ruined by your ex-wife, so now you can't have a job as a locksmith to pay back your debt legitimately? Maybe *you'd* be tempted to break laws, so you put your weakness onto others, but not everybody is like you.

Caveat emptor for anybody who hires a locksmith. I'm not saying that gives someone permission to be unethical with their skills. I'm not saying don't use the background check. I'm saying use your own judgement and look at the big picture, not just the risks.

Unless you are the FBI or a bonding company, I don't think it's your concern about how they handle their business. With all your good intentions, I think the government has already considered that option of licensing, and as the laws show, have rejected the federal screening and federal license for people who don't work for them. I think they can handle their own security risks and make their own standards for who can have access to level X documents. High security places don't use only locks these days; they also have barb wire, lasers, heat and motion detectors, cameras, and armed guards. Some even have dogs. There's also that newfangled thing that may put locksmiths out of a job one day: fingerprint scanners and voice detection technology.

When locksmithing is outlawed, only outlaws will be locksmiths. Try a drinker's license first. Drunks in cars are a larger risk than locksmiths.

Tim Mathews wrote:

Reply to

Do you understand English? I didn't say "government nuclear code-breaker". You need to learn what quotes mean so that you can use them properly.

The paranoia is out of proportion to the risk. I think

The FBI does what justice tells it to and justice does what congress legislates.

and they won't make a case for it until it goes beyond a state

This is babble. It isn't up to the FBI to make a case for it. The legislation would be proposed in congress and if passed the justice dept would enforce it via the FBI simple as that.

A federal probe and restrictions aren't going to reduce any

Is English your first language?

instead, you're going to get more law-breaking.

How does this add Felons unless locksmiths who can't pass the background checks (and yes we know there would be a bunch of them) continue to work illegally?

Learn to read. I have repeatedly said I am not a locksmith. So such legislation would have no effect whatsoever on my "competition".

Just another gimmick

Again learn to read. I am not a locksmith and don't have a van.

Maybe a voluntary federal-level license

So you're saying that those who don't undergo exhaustive background checks are just as good a security risk as those who do? With this logic you must be a locksmith.

My dream is to own one of every machinegun ever produced. Congress castrated that dream when they closed the NFA registry and turned registered $1000 guns into $15,000+ guns. So much for dreams.


Sorry bad credit makes you are a security risk. Ask the human resources dept in any bank if they will hire you with bad credit. The answer is a resounding no.

Maybe *you'd* be

Yes I want to break laws so I write a post advocating federal restrictions to make it harder for me to do what I want to do. You are real rocket scientist there aren't you?

You just claimed that I want to put people out of business to reduce my competition, now my intentions are good. Make up your mind.

I think the government has already considered that option

Licensing of locksmiths has never been taken up by congress if you claim otherwise give me an SB or HR number and the session it was introduced in.

I think they

Both easily defeated.

You have some real comprehension problems don't you? Quote where I said anything about outlawing locksmithing. I merely pointed out that if an industry wants to take an elitist position that it is somehow more trustworthy than the general public and thus has some special right to 'sensitive' information and tools then a program should be in place to make sure those in that industry are actually as trustworthy as they claim they are. All the security by obscurityists who plague the locksmith industry should be jumping up and down for joy over federal regulation because it would make the security by obscurity stupidity they advocate federal law. Unless of course they can't pass muster.

That would be called a drivers license or other form of ID that says you are over 21. Interestingly while not a federal restriction per say this restriction would not exist had congress not forced the states into it by withholding federal highway funds from any state that didn't go along so probably not the best example for you to use unless you want to bolster my point.

Reply to
Tim Mathews

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