Is it Illegal to Own a Lock Pick Set and Bump Keys? (Rules Per State)

As you may know, lock picking or bumping are two methods of opening locks without the original key. It requires lockpick tools for lockpicking, while bumping requires a special key called a Bump Key.

Though these methods of bypassing a lock’s security were not intended for nefarious acts, so is the case today, unfortunately. Burglars can gain entry to homes by picking the front door locks or bumping them.

Some States have laws that regulate the possession of lock pick sets and bump keys. 

So in this article, we want to find out the States that allow individuals to own lock pick tools/bump keys and those that don’t.

First, these are quick but accurate answers to some questions you might be looking for.

Is it legal to own a lockpick set?

The answer is both yes and no. YESIf your State’s laws allow individuals to possess lock picking tools, NO if your State laws do not permit.

Are Bump Keys Illegal?

Depending on the laws in your State, ownership of Bump keys might be legal or illegal. These tools may only be available to licensed locksmiths in certain cases.

What States are Bump Keys and Lock Picks Illegal in?

As per our findings, it’s illegal to own or carry lock picks, Bump keys, and other similar tools in the following states:

  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Virginia

It is considered “prima facie evidence” to own these tools (lock picks, Bump keys, etc.). That is, you may have to prove you weren’t intending to use them for burglary.

Is it illegal to own bolt cutters?

In most states, it’s not illegal to own or carry bolt cutters, so long as the possessor shows no intent of using the tools in the commission of a crime.

That said, the next few paragraphs provide more details about lock pick tools and Bump keys possession in each State—based on the existing laws.

Possession of Bump Keys, Lock Picks, and Other Tools: Rules per State

Alabama

Alabama makes it legal to possess lock pick tools. Individuals may possess lock picking tools and Bump keys, as well as lock drills or any other tool that could be used to gain entry to the premises.

However, it’s illegal if a person found with these tools has the intent of committing a crime (burglary).

Alaska

Alaska law allows the possession of lock pick tools, bump keys, and similar items, provided that the owner has not intended to use the tools for criminal acts (burglary).

A further interpretation of this rule could mean that individuals suspected of using such tools for nefarious acts may go through court proceedings to prove if they’re guilty.

Arkansas

Arkansas has no laws regarding the possession of lock picks tools, bump keys, or other similar items. This could indicate that anyone can purchase lock pick sets tools.

Arizona

Purchasing and owning Bump keys and lock pick tools isn’t illegal in Arizona.

However, the law provides that anyone in possession of such tools and intending to commit any form of burglary commits a crime—possession of burglary tools, which is illegal.

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California

It’s not illegal to purchase and own lock pick tools, Bump keys, bolt cutters, and the like in California. But a person is charged with a misdemeanor if there’s intent to use the tools to break or enter a building without due permission.

Colorado

Colorado law allows the possession of bump keys and lock picking tools. But like other States, it’s illegal when there’s intent to break into one’s home/premises with the same tools.

Connecticut

Though legal to own lock picking sets, Bump keys, bolt cutters, etc., in Connecticut, it’s against the law to have an intent to break into someone’s home/premises—with the tools.

South Carolina (District of Columbia).

Individuals can own lock picking tools and Bump keys, so long as there is no intent to use them to commit a crime, such as unlawful entry into one’s premises.

Delaware

While it’s legal for individuals to own lock pick sets, Bump keys, and the like in Delaware, it becomes illegal if there’s intent to use such tools to break into a building or access any premises without due permission.

It’s also contrary to the rules if the tools are already being used to gain forced entry into a building.

Florida

Individuals can own Bump keys and lock pick sets in Florida—it’s not illegal. If a person is found to be in possession of such tools with the intent of using them to commit burglary, he will be charged with a felony.

Georgia

Individuals in Georgia can possess lock picking tools or Bump keys as long as they are not used for committing crimes.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, it is not illegal to possess lock picking tools or bump keys. However, it is illegal to possess such a tool or instrument without obtaining permission.

Iowa

Residents of Iowa can own lock picking tools and Bump keys—it’s legal. These tools can’t be used for any nefarious purpose. It becomes a crime if it is.

Idaho

Like most other US States, owning lockpicks isn’t illegal. But the law is against anyone who owns such tools with the intent to unlock someone’s door unlawfully.

Illinois

While it’s legal for individuals to own lock picking sets, including Bump keys in Illinois, it becomes illegal if there’s intent to use the tools to gain unpermitted entry into one’s property.

More so, knowingly selling a key or other tools designed to aid burglary is an offense—Unlawful Sales of Burglary tools.

Indiana

There’s no specific law regulating the use/possession of lock pick sets and Bump keys in India. This could mean that anyone can have lock pick sets. However, using them to break into one’s premises is not the way to go and might well be against the law.

Kansas

In Kansas, possession of lockpicks and Bump keys is not prohibited but illegal to use the same tools for nefarious acts—unauthorized entry, etc.

Kentucky

Kentucky is no different from most other States; individual possession of lock pick sets and Bump keys isn’t illegal. But possession of these tools with intent to break into someone’s property is unlawful.

Louisiana

It’s not illegal to own lockpicks and Bump keys in Louisiana, but it’s contrary to the law if there’s intent to use the tools for nefarious acts such as breaking into one’s premises.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts allows individuals to possess lock picking tools, Bump key, and similar tools. The law prohibits the use of the same tools to break in to a building, room, vault, and open a safe to steal property.

Maryland

Unless there’s intent to use the tools for burglary and/or burglary-related acts, owning lock pick sets, bolt cutters, or Bump keys is not prohibited in Maryland.

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Maine

A person can own lock picking sets and/or Bump keys in Maine; it’s not illegal, so long as the tools aren’t used for any crime or show intent to use them to commit a crime.

Michigan

If you live in Michigan, you can own Bump keys or lock pick sets—it’s not illegal. Though it becomes unlawful if there’s intent to use the lockpicks or Bump keys to gain forced entry into a building, vehicle, vault, safe, etc.

Minnesota

It is illegal to possess burglary-related tools such as Bump keys and lock pick tools with the intention to break into buildings. That is, individuals may own lock pick sets and the like, but it’s unlawful to use them or plan to use them for theft.

Missouri

Anyone can own Bump keys and lock pick tools in Missouri, so long as there’s no intent to use them for theft.

Mississippi

Unlike most other States, it’s illegal to own lock pick sets, Bump keys, and other burglary-related tools in Mississippi.

A person found in possession of these instruments may have to counter prima facie evidence of intent—if the tools are hidden.

Montana

Anyone can have a lock pick set or Bump key in Montana. It’s not illegal to own them but it’s contrary to the law if there’s intent to use them for theft or gain unpermitted entry into a building, vehicle, vault, safe, and the like.

North Carolina

North Carolina does not prohibit the use of lockpick tools such as Drills and Bump keys. However, you must not use such tools for lockpicking. Otherwise, you’re expected to get licensed as a locksmith to render services with the tools.

However, lockpicks that are intended to be used for malicious purposes are illegal.

North Dakota

North Dakota has no laws regarding the possession of Bump keys and lock pick tools. So it probably means it’s not illegal to own a lock pick set and the like.

Nebraska

Anyone can own lock pick sets and Bump keys in Nebraska, so long as there’s no intent to use or permit the use of the same tools for theft.

New Hampshire

As long as you’re not using the tools (lockpicks and Bump keys) in the commission of a crime or intending to commit a crime, it’s legal to own them.

New Jersey

Anyone can own Bump keys and/or lock pick sets in New Jersey; it’s not illegal. However, it is against the law to use the same tools to enter a building.

New Mexico

It’s legal to purchase and own lockpick tools, Bump keys, bolt cutters, and other similar tools. But as you know, it’s unlawful to use them for burglary or burglary-related acts.

Nevada

While it’s not completely illegal to own lock pick sets and Bump keys in Nevada, a possessor may have to counter prima facie evidence that there’s no intent to use such tools or allow the same to be used in the commission of a crime.

New York

Individuals can own lock pick tools and Bump keys in New York; it’s not illegal. But it’s contrary to the law to plan or allow such tools to be used for burglary and the like.

Ohio

Anyone who has lock pick sets or Bump keys may need to prove they were not intended to use them to break into buildings or commit crimes.

So it’s somewhat legal to own these tools but you may have to “counter prima facie evidence”.

Oklahoma

Except there’s intent to use the lock pick sets and Bump keys to invade a home/property unlawfully, it’s legal to own them in Oklahoma.

Oregon

Oregon law does not criminalize possession of lock pick tools, bump keys, and the like. You must not use or plan to use the same tools to break in to premises without permission.

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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not have any specific rules regarding the possession of lock picking tools, Bump key, bolt cutters, etc.

Rhode Island

You can buy and own lockpicks, Bump keys in Rhode Island; it’s legal. It is illegal to possess the same tools in the intention of committing a crime.

South Carolina

South Carolina residents can own Bump keys and lock pick sets, drills and bolt cutters. It’s legal to own these tools, as long as there’s no intent to use them or allow the same tools to be used in the commission of a crime—such as burglary.

South Dakota

It’s not unlawful to own lock pick sets and/or Bump keys in South Dakota. It is illegal to possess such tools in the purpose of breaking into buildings, vaults, safes, etc.

Tennessee

If you’re looking to own lock picking tools, Bump keys, bolt cutters, and the like—to offer services for profit, you must be licensed. Only licensed locksmiths are allowed to use lockpicks.

Individuals may well own and use lockpicks, so long as it’s not for profit and commission of a crime.

Texas

Texas law allows the possession of lockpicks and Bump keys, bolt cutters and other related tools. However, it’s illegal for a possessor to use, or intend to use the tools housebreaking.

Utah

In Utah, it’s legal for a person to purchase and own lock pick sets, Bump keys, bolt cutters, and other tools that can bypass a lock’s security. However, you should be aware that they can be used for criminal acts.

Virginia

Apart from a licensed dealer, a person who possesses housebreaking tools such as lockpicks, Bump keys, and bolt cutters in Virginia—shall be “prima facie evidence”.

This means that the possessor may need to prove they didn’t intend to use or allow theft of the same tools.

Vermont

Vermont allows anyone to own lockpicks, Bump key, bolt cutters, or other similar tools. It’s not illegal to own them, so long as you do not plan to use them to break into one’s property.

Washington

Individuals may have lockpicks, Bump keys and bolt cutters like many Americans. But it’s unlawful to use or intend to use the tools for burglary.

Wisconsin

A person can buy Bump keys, bolt cutters or lockpicks without committing a crime.

West Virginia

Anyone can probably own lock picking sets, Bump keys, and bolt cutters in West Virginia, as they’re no specific laws regulating the use of these tools.

It is illegal to use them for unpermitted entry into buildings/premises.

Wyoming

Wyoming allows anyone to own lock pick sets, bump keys, or other similar tools. However, they are prohibited from being used or intended to be used for housebreaking or other related crimes.

Final words

So that’s it! As you can see most states allow individuals to have lock pick sets. Bump keysYou can use them, but not for theft or breaking into buildings without permission.

References:

1.

Disclaimer:

This article is purely for informational purposes. We do not claim to be lawyers or any authority responsible for lock picks ownership rules. We’re simply presenting the rules to you as set up by relevant authorities—which may well change in the future.

You may want to check official sources for accuracy—before reaching any decision about getting lock picking tools.

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