The Legality of Lockpicks in the U.S. and Beyond

Posted by Laura N on

Even though lockpicking for sport is a perfectly valid hobby, there are plenty of people out there that think there are no valid reasons for a law abiding citizen to have lock picks. Just look at the comments on this product video we posted on Facebook. So many haters!

But if you’re reading this, you are likely someone that enjoys the challenge of picking locks for sport, would like to learn how, or it is a skill you need in your job as a security professional, locksmith, law enforcement, first responder, etc.

The bad news is that carrying lock defeating tools is not legal in all places, regardless of their legitimate uses.

The Legality of Lockpicks in the U.S.

lockpicking laws in the United States

The folks over at The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers (TOOOL) have put together this fantastic guide on laws regarding lock picks and the like in the United States. Get the details for each state here. The map image is a modified version of the one posted at TOOOL.

We were curious about the legality of lockpicks beyond the United States, so we started poking around. We found this Lock picking 101 forum thread of lockpick laws from around the world that is neatly organized, but possibly a bit outdated since it’s 10+ years old. But it looks like a good starting point. 

Places Where Lockpicks Are Illegal

Here is a short list of countries where lockpicks can get you into trouble.


Japan prohibits possession of any lock picking tools


In Poland possessing, producing or obtaining lock picks is illegal if your profession or occupation does not require it. 


In Hungary, lockpicks are considered military equipment. Ownership is completely prohibited, even for professional locksmiths. 

We’re not lawyers and this should not be considered legal advice. We recommend that you do your own research for your state, country, etc. so you can enjoy your hobby and not end up in jail.

All set? If you’re looking for a good place to start on your lockpicking journey, read this: pick like a pro with a little practice

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