Owning a lock pick set is not illegal in most states.
In most states, owning lock pick tools is only considered a crime if you use them illegally. In other words, the courts must show that you had intent to commit a crime.
While most states have published statutes regarding lock pick tools, some states have written no laws on the subject, and so possession is not illegal.
States that might prosecute you for owning a lock pick set
There are a few notable exceptions, which we've highlighted on our map.
A few states take a "guilty until proven innocent" stance when it comes to owning a lock pick set. Owning a lock pick set is trickier in Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. These states consider ownership of a lock pick set "prima facie evidence."
This essentially means these states might put you in a position of proving you weren't planning to use the lock pick set for the purpose of committing a crime.
In Mississippi, you can own a lock pick set, but concealment is considered prima facie evidence.
In Tennessee, the laws are vague, but it appears you can own lock pick tools if you're not using your skill for profit.
Can I own a lock pick set in my state?
Owning lock picking tools is legal in all of these states:
- Mississippi (if it's not concealed)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Just don't start a locksmith business without a license, and don't open any locks that aren't yours.
Where can you get a beginner lock pick set?
If you're ready to learn how to pick locks, we have a beginner set that will teach you all the basics. It comes with clear locks, a lock picking guide, and a set of steel tools.
*Disclaimer: We are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. We're just providing information on the law as we understand it.