October 7, 2003 98-R-0347
FROM: Dan Duffy, Principal Analyst
You asked if other states regulate locksmiths to protect the public from criminal activity.
We identified three states with laws regulating locksmiths that are apparently designed to protect the public from criminal activity: California, Illinois, and Louisiana.
The sole focus of California's law is protecting the public from criminal activity. It requires locksmith businesses to be licensed and their employees to be registered. Applicants for a license or registration are not required to pass a licensing examination, but must provide fingerprints and other identifying information. The regulatory agency checks the applicants' criminal records and issues or denies credentials based on what it finds. It denies a credential if it finds that an applicant has a serious criminal record and is not sufficiently rehabilitated. The law establishes standards to make the decision.
California requires locksmiths to create a work order for each job. It must identify the service and describe the customer. Work order records must be kept for at least two years.
Illinois and Louisiana require locksmiths to be licensed. Applicants must pass a licensing examination and meet other licensing standards, such as being of good moral character. Louisiana's law creates a state licensing board. Both states require locksmiths to create and keep work orders.
California requires locksmith businesses to be licensed and their employees to be registered (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 6980 to 6980.84). Unlike Connecticut law, obtaining a license is not made contingent upon passing a licensing examination or in any way meeting educational, experience, or competency standards. Instead, both license and registration applicants are required to provide fingerprints and the regulatory agency, the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs, must issue or refuse to issue credentials after making criminal records checks.
The bureau may refuse to issue a license or registration to an applicant who has been convicted of a crime if it finds that the crime is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a locksmith. The bureau must evaluate the rehabilitation of the applicant and consider (1) the nature and severity of the crime; (2) the applicant's total criminal record; (3) evidence of subsequent crimes; (4) the time that has elapsed since the crime; (5) the extent to which the applicant complied with the terms of parole, probation, restitution, or other sanctions; and (6) evidence of rehabilitation.
California requires locksmith licensees and registrants to carry pocket identification cards. They must write a work order for each job; obtain a customer's signature before opening a home or commercial building; and record the customer's name, address, telephone number, date of birth, and the number of his driver's license or other identification on the work order. Licensees must keep work orders for at least two years. They must keep all business records open to inspection by the bureau. The law makes licensees responsible for the actions of their employees.
Illinois requires locksmiths to be licensed (Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 446/15 to 446/205). The same licensing statute also applies to private detectives, private security contractors, and private alarm contractors.
The law requires locksmiths to meet traditional licensing standards (i.e. demonstrate competency) and subjects them to administrative discipline for traditional reasons. License applicants are required to pass a theoretical and practical licensing exam. Among other things, license applicants must (1) be 18 at least years old, (2) be of good moral character, (3) be free of habitual drunkenness or narcotic addiction, (4) not have been declared incompetent for physical or mental condition by a court, and (5) not have been dishonorably discharged from the armed services. A convicted felon is ineligible until 10 years have elapsed since he has been discharged from any sentence.
The only provision of the licensing law directly related to protecting the public from criminal activity requires licensees to make and keep work orders. As in California, locksmiths must write a work order for each job; obtain a customer's signature before opening a home or commercial building; and record the customer's name, address, telephone number, date of birth, and the number of his driver's license or other identification on the work order. Licensees must keep work orders for at least two years. Licensees must make work orders available to inspection on written request made three days in advance by a law enforcement agency.
Louisiana law requires locksmiths to be licensed and establishes a State Licensing Board for Locksmiths (La. Rev. Stat. §§ 37:1391 to 37:1401). The board may prescribe application forms, adopt regulations, set fees, and create a provisional license for apprentices or trainees.
Louisiana establishes licensing criteria very similar to those in Illinois. Louisiana differs in that it allows someone to apply for a license five years (rather than 10) after being discharged after serving a sentence for a felony conviction.
Louisiana has the same record making and retention requirements as California and Illinois.