Are Lockpicks Illegal in Oregon?- Oregon’s Lock Picking Legal Landscape

In the heart of the Pacific Northwest, where towering forests meet vibrant cities, lies the enigma of the state of Oregon. Known for its breathtaking landscapes and pioneering spirit, this state has long been a sanctuary for those seeking adventure and pushing boundaries.

are lockpicks illegal in oregon by Emma Marshal featured image

In Oregon, as with any state, the legality of possessing and using lock picks for non-professional purposes is a puzzle in itself. There is a question that has whispered in hushed tones, a query that dances at the edge of legality and intrigue: Are lockpicks illegal in Oregon? Let us explore this in this article.

Are Lockpicks Illegal in Oregon?

Are lock picks truly illegal in Oregon, or do they hold a surprising key to understanding a world of locks, secrets, and the blurred lines of the law?

The answer is that lock-picking tools and lock picking are generally legal in Oregon. The laws regarding the legality of lock picks in Oregon indicate that the use of lock picks and similar tools in Oregon is legal unless the intended use is for gaining illegal entry or theft, or if they are used on a lock for which you didn’t obtain permission.

map of Oregon state

It’s important to note that you could potentially be charged with possessing burglary tools if you are in possession of lock picks while committing a crime. Understanding the legality of lockpicks in Oregon is crucial for anyone interested in the locksmith profession or locksport.

If you plan to use lock-picking tools for legitimate purposes, such as locksmith work, you should ensure that you follow the specific regulations and requirements outlined for becoming a locksmith in Oregon. These requirements may include background checks, education, application fees, and compliance with relevant regulations and laws related to the locksmith profession in the state.

Keep in mind that the legality of lock-picking tools and their use can vary from state to state, so it’s essential to understand the specific laws and regulations in the jurisdiction where you intend to use these tools.

Licensing Requirements for Locksmiths in Oregon

Locksmiths in Oregon are subject to specific licensing requirements to operate legally within the state. These requirements ensure that locksmiths meet certain standards and qualifications.

A man smiling with a tool in his hand standing by a locked door symbolizing a licensed locksmith in Oregon

Individuals seeking to become licensed locksmiths in Oregon must follow the regulations set by the state authorities, which may include completing necessary training, passing an exam, and fulfilling other criteria as defined by state law.

Exceptions to the License Requirement

While a license is generally required for locksmiths in Oregon, there are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, key duplication at a fixed location and roles related to being a representative of a lock manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer may not require a locksmith license.

It’s essential to understand these exceptions to determine whether a specific locksmith-related activity falls under the licensing requirement or qualifies for an exemption.

Definition of “Locksmith” as per State Law

Oregon’s state law provides a clear definition of what constitutes a “locksmith.” This definition outlines the scope of activities and services that fall within the realm of locksmith work.

Understanding this definition is crucial for individuals interested in pursuing a locksmith career in Oregon, as it helps establish the boundaries of the profession and clarifies the types of services that require proper licensure.

Background Check and Disqualifications Based on Criminal History

As part of the locksmith licensing process in Oregon, a background check is typically conducted on individuals applying for a license. This background check aims to assess an applicant’s criminal history and may be used to determine eligibility for licensure.

emotion of sad surprise on being disqualified as a locksmith-

Certain criminal convictions may result in disqualification from obtaining a locksmith license. It’s essential for aspiring locksmiths to be aware of the background check requirement and understand any potential disqualifications based on their criminal record.

Education and Fees

The state of Oregon has specific requirements related to education of locksmiths and their fee structure.

Online Test for Locksmiths

As part of the locksmith licensing process in Oregon, individuals may be required to complete an online test. This test assesses the applicant’s knowledge and understanding of locksmith practices, regulations, and relevant laws specific to the state of Oregon.

a person giving online test for locksmiths in Oregon and a locksmith opening the door on left

Successfully passing this test demonstrates the applicant’s proficiency in locksmith-related matters, contributing to the overall qualification for obtaining a locksmith license in the state.

Application, Test, and License Fees

Applying for a locksmith license in Oregon involves various fees that applicants should be aware of. These fees cover different stages of the licensing process, including the application fee, test fee (if applicable), and the license fee itself.

The total cost of obtaining a locksmith license in Oregon includes these combined fees. Understanding the fee structure is essential for individuals planning to become licensed locksmiths, as it ensures they can budget appropriately for the necessary expenses.

Residential Construction Contractor License Requirement

In addition to the specific locksmith license, individuals in Oregon may also be required to hold a Residential Construction Contractor License when engaging in locksmith work related to residential properties.

This requirement may apply to locksmiths who provide services such as installation, repair, or maintenance of locks and security systems for residential buildings.

Complying with this additional licensing requirement ensures that locksmiths meet the necessary standards for working on residential projects in the state.

It’s important for locksmiths to verify whether this requirement applies to their intended scope of work and ensure they obtain the appropriate license if necessary.

Are Lock Picking Tools Legal In Oregon?

Yes, Lock Picking tools are legal to possess in Oregon. The details of the legal ownership of lock picks in Oregon is discussed below:

Legal Ownership of Lock picks in Oregon – Must Show Intent

The laws regarding lock picks in Oregon permit their legal ownership under specific conditions. Citizens of Oregon are generally allowed to own lock picking tools, such as lock picks, unless they intend to use these tools for illegal purposes.

“Possession of a burglary tool or theft device is a crime if a person possesses such a tool or device and intends to use it to commit forcible entry or theft, or knows someone who intends to use it for that purpose. Burglary tools or theft devices include devices capable of burning through steel, concrete, or other material, as well as explosives, tools, instruments, or other articles adapted or designed for forcible entry or theft. Possession of such tools or devices is a Class A misdemeanor.”

Understanding the rules governing the possession of lock picks is essential to avoid legal complications and ensure compliance with Oregon’s regulations on lock picking tools.

Get a detailed review of Oregon regarding lock picks and their possession from ORS 164.235 Possession of a burglary tool or theft device

Conditions Under Which Lock Picks Can Be Considered Illegal

While lock picks themselves are not inherently illegal to own in Oregon, they can be deemed illegal if they are possessed with the intent to use them for unlawful purposes.

If someone intends to use lock picks to gain illegal entry, commit theft, or engage in any criminal activity, it crosses the line into illegal territory. Demonstrating such intent can lead to legal consequences under Oregon’s laws.

Possession of Burglary Tools While Committing a Crime

It’s crucial to note that being in possession of lock picks while committing a crime can result in additional charges related to possessing burglary tools.

If lock picks are found on an individual in the process of committing a crime, this can lead to a separate legal offense in Oregon. This emphasizes the importance of using lock picking tools responsibly and lawfully.


In conclusion, the question “Are lockpicks illegal in Oregon?” is multifaceted, and understanding the nuances of lock pick laws in the state is crucial. Lock picks themselves are not inherently illegal to possess in Oregon, but their legality depends on the intent behind their use. It’s essential to ensure that you use lock picking tools responsibly and within the boundaries of the law.

However, it’s important to note that while we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, legal matters can be complex and subject to change.

Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with a qualified lawyer in Oregon to confirm the current legal status of lock picks and their use in the state. Legal experts can provide personalized advice based on the most recent regulations and specific circumstances.

Understanding lock pick laws in Oregon is vital for locksmiths, hobbyists, and individuals interested in lock picking. By staying informed about the relevant regulations, you can avoid unintended legal issues and ensure that you are using lock picking tools in a lawful and responsible manner.

Remember, being aware of the laws not only protects you but also contributes to a safer and more secure community. Stay informed, seek legal guidance when needed, and enjoy the world of locks and security within the bounds of the law.


What States Are Lockpicks Illegal?

Lock picking tools and their legality vary by state. Some states, like Oregon, allow ownership and use of lock picks unless there’s criminal intent. However, specific regulations differ, and some states like Ohio, Nevada and Virginia have restrictions on lock picks and lock picks are illegal to possess in these states.

Is It Legal to Carry around Lock picks?

In many states, it’s legal to carry lock picking tools if you don’t have criminal intent. If you’re a locksmith or use them for legal purposes, it’s generally allowed. But if the intent is for illegal entry or theft, it can be illegal.

Can You Lock pick Your Own House?

In most states, you can lock pick your own house if you’re the lawful owner or have explicit permission from the owner. It’s important to note that laws and interpretations can vary, so be sure to know your local laws.

Is Lock picking Breaking and Entering?

Lock picking itself isn’t breaking and entering. It becomes illegal if you use lock picks to enter a property without permission, which constitutes criminal trespass or burglary, depending on intent and circumstances.

Find out more relevant answers on Are lockpicks legal in Oregon?


  1. Are lockpicks legal in Oregon?
  2. MIT Guide to Lock Picking
  3. The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers
  4. ORS 164.235 Possession of a burglary tool or theft device


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