Convicts carry lock picks. Unlicensed locksmiths overcharge customers. Out-of-state companies steal local locksmiths’ phone numbers. According to state and national locksmith groups, these actions could continue if no regulations are imposed on the locksmithing industry. “It’s a huge misnomer that locksmiths are licensed, and barring a major catastrophe, people, in general, won’t push for it,” said Jonathan Mead, president of the Maryland Locksmiths Association. “The door is open to those kinds of things, especially as technology progresses.”
Currently, the only regulation in the industry is having a business license, which permits a company to operate. However, this does not require them to have a background check to address skill level. This allows convicts who legally cannot carry lockpicking tools to enter the profession, according to Tom Foxwell, regional director for the Associated Locksmiths of America. Mead also added that because of this, anyone can pose as a locksmith who commits crimes or bilks money from customers.
Locksmiths say that they hope for a bill in the upcoming General Assembly that will put the industry under the state’s watch. “I truly believe [the state] will get more money out of the regulations than it would spend,” said Foxwell. Although the bill is still being fashioned, it would require locksmiths and alarm companies to be licensed in the same category under the Department of Labour, Licensing, and Regulations. According to officials, this would mean that background checks, certification, and legitimate operation in the state would now be required.
“It’s very rare an industry wants to be regulated,” said Del. James King, who introduced the bill in January. “The industry as a whole has unified themselves, and customers deserve the right to know who’s coming out to fix their locks is legitimate.” However, the Maryland Retailers Association has opposed previous versions of the bill, because of the fact that it may require licenses for key making, which, along with safecracking and lock replacement, is one of the services provided by locksmiths. “We have to protect the small guy that makes money from making keys and fixing locks,” said Jeff Zellmer, the association’s legislative director. “[Locksmiths] want to protect their industry to keep others out.”
Both sides are looking for compromise. Locksmith leaders say they would likely exclude key making, and Zellmer said previous amendments that exclude key-making services at big-box stores have been accepted by the association.
Discuss this issue further with one of the experts from Emergency Locksmith Belfast by calling them on 02895-320646. They’d be more than happy to help you learn more about the industry.