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I don't know about the US, but here in the UK the locksmithing trade has a huge problem with what they call drill merchants - 'locksmiths' who can't pick locks, but simply drill out the lock barrel and charge for a replacement. The trade absolutely loathes such operators, on the basis that they're destroying and replacing perfectly good locks and that they devalue the skills of locksmithing.

This anecdote has got me wondering that perhaps the drillers have more satisfied customers than real locksmiths. The driller makes a big noisy mess, gets covered in brass chips and fits a shiny new lock for only a bit more money than a professional charges to put a key in the lock and tap it with a little hammer for ten seconds.

The human mind is weird.

This is not a problem for the customers who just want their door open.

> for only a bit more money than a professional charges to put a key in the lock and tap it with a little hammer for ten seconds.

In America, people without locksmith licenses can't legally buy bumpkeys, sadly. If I had a problem that a locksmith could solve with a bumpkey, I'd be quite annoyed that my payment to him is essentially a government subsidy coming out of my pocket.

Seems quite legal to me. A quick google revealed you can buy the here (http://www.bumpkey.us) without any license. I could not find any mention that you had to be a locksmith to get a bump key set.

I think the legality of it is that you do not have it on you in public. I am not a lawyer though.

Posession of lockpicking tools is regulated at a state level, in some states its perfectly legal, in others it is not.

I have heard that postal regulations prohibit mailing lockpicking tools though. I have not specifically asked a postmaster or checked on this.

Not true, this depends upon your jurisdiction. Anyone wondering if it is legal where they live should check their state and local laws.

I've been told by locksmiths that lockpicking tools are illegal in my state, yet no one can point out where state law says this. Thats because its not illegal here. Locksmith isn't even a licensed profession here.

I've known people who have bought bumpkeys.

That said, it is not that hard to design a lock that cannot be opened with a bumpkey, and there are now some locks that are so designed.

Shouldn't we then also consider that payment to cover the value of the things that would have been stolen from you if any random thief could easily/cheaply get a bumpkey? Who knows how those balance out, but if we're going to count the costs we should count the benefits, too.

Burglars and those without concern for legality can already easily and cheaply get bumpkeys. Making them illegal only keeps law-abiding citizens from getting them and using them legally.

This also ignores that it is trivial to make your own bump keys. I don't know why someone would buy one.

I think most burglars already know more efficient methods of entering your house than fiddling about trying to pick a lock...

I have had a funny experience with a locksmith, who wanted to drill a lock "it can't be picked." I called another (as I did not want the door drilled), which resulted in an ensuing argument between the two locksmiths, the second of which (a larger company), noted "this doesn't need to be drilled." I had to ask and physically intervene (just interposing myself) to ask the first man to leave.

This was in San Francisco, which apparently (alluded to below in comments) on the issue of..pseudo licensed / "driller" locksmith's.

I hate the fact that many times in large companies, or many other professions, that doing "well" "drags down" the mediocre employee's.

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