Is Lock Picking Legal in Mississippi? Don’t Miss Knowing Legal Aspects

Welcome, fellow lock enthusiasts! If you’ve recently delved into the intriguing world of lock picking, you might be wondering about the legalities surrounding this skill, especially if you’re practicing your newfound hobby in the state of Mississippi.

In this article, we’ll explore the question on many beginners’ minds: “Is lock picking legal in Mississippi?”

Is Lock Picking Legal in Mississippi? infographics by Emma Marshal

Whether you’ve just picked up your first set of lock picks or you’re considering taking up lock picking as a hobby, understanding the legal landscape is crucial to ensuring you stay on the right side of the law.

So, let’s dive in and explore the legality of lock picking in the Magnolia State!

Is Lock Picking Legal in Mississippi?

Is Lock Picking Legal in Mississippi? Don’t Miss Knowing Legal Aspects title with map of Mississippi and a lock on the right side

Yes, lock picking is legal in Mississippi, but practitioners should exercise caution according to Lockpick Laws In the United States.

While picks are legal, possessing them, especially if concealed, may invite scrutiny due to prima facie evidence of criminal intent. Lock picking enthusiasts must be mindful of potential misconceptions and be prepared to address any concerns about unlawful motives associated with the concealed nature of their tools.

Stay informed, exercise responsibility, and enjoy the art of lock picking within the bounds of the law in the Magnolia State.

Lock Picking Laws in Mississippi

mississippi map

Lock picking laws in Mississippi revolve around the question, “Is lock picking legal in Mississippi?” Lock picking laws in Mississippi are governed by specific statutes designed to regulate the possession and use of lock-picking tools.

Relevant Statutes and Regulations

Here is the information about relevant statutes and regulations regarding lock picking laws in Mississippi presented in a table format:

Mississippi Code § 97-17-33 Addresses possession of burglary tools, including lock picking tools, with the intent to commit a crime.
Mississippi Code § 97-23-93 Governs possession of implements of crime and may be applicable to lock picking tools in certain contexts.
Mississippi Code § 97-1-7 Defines and clarifies the legal concept of prima facie evidence, relevant when addressing criminal intent.
Mississippi Code § 97-23-89 Covers the possession of weapons and instruments of crime, potentially applicable to lock picking tools.

Is lock picking legal in Mississippi should become more clear from conditions of legality and illegality.

Conditions under Which Lock Picking is Considered Legal or Illegal in Mississippi

Legal Conditions Illegal Conditions
1. Ownership and Consent 1. Possession with Criminal Intent
– Lock picking is legal when the individual owns the property or has obtained explicit consent from the owner. – If lock picking tools are possessed with the intent to commit a crime, it may be deemed illegal under Mississippi law.
2. Educational and Professional Use 2. Concealed Tools
– Lock picking for educational or professional purposes, such as locksmith training or locksmith services, is typically considered legal. – Concealing lock picking tools may raise suspicions and could lead to legal consequences. Transparency and responsible ownership are crucial.
3. Non-Criminal Intent 3. Unauthorized Entry
– Legal lock picking involves a demonstration of non-criminal intent. Possessors should be able to counter any presumption of unlawful intent. – Using lock picking tools to gain unauthorized entry, such as breaking and entering, is illegal and subject to criminal charges.
4. Possession during Criminal Activity
– Possession of lock picking tools during the commission of a crime may result in additional charges related to burglary or similar offenses.

There is a comprehensive article on Is lock picking illegal in the US for detailed information on all states in this regard.

It is illegal for any individual to possess tools, implements, or instruments designed to facilitate burglary, larceny, or robbery in Mississippi.

Carrying such items concealed on one’s person or in baggage is considered prima facie evidence of intent to use them for unlawful purposes.

Following table summarizes the key points from Mississippi Code – § 97-17-35 in Lockpick Laws In the United States.

Aspect Details
Definition of Concealment 1. Tools visible on the back seat and floorboard of an automobile are not considered “concealed.” (PAMPHLET v. STATE) 2. Tools stored in the trunk of a car are deemed “concealed.” (SMITH v. STATE) 3. Instances exist where individuals faced charges for possessing concealed weapons, even when partially visible under a car seat.
Prima Facie Evidence Clarification 1. Prima facie evidence allows a jury to find guilt (ROBINSON v. STATE). 2. When the State establishes a prima facie case, the defendant must present evidence in rebuttal (SYKES v. STATE; HICKS v. STATE). 3. The defendant must actively attempt to counter the prima facie case (JONES v. STATE).

Exceptions and Limitations

In Mississippi, lock picking is legally permitted for licensed locksmiths, law enforcement personnel, and individuals with explicit property owner consent.

Licensing Requirements of Locksmiths in Mississippi

Embarking on the journey to become a locksmith in Mississippi doesn’t follow a strict set of rules, but certain keys open doors according to Locksmithing School: How to Become a Locksmith in Mississippi?

To become a locksmith in Mississippi, individuals must be at least 18 years old, mentally sound, and possess a clean moral background. No formal education or training certification is required.

Essential skills include mechanical and mathematical aptitude, knowledge of lock components, and proficiency with locksmith tools. While a criminal record doesn’t automatically disqualify, a state or city-issued business license is necessary.

Locksmiths can enhance their careers with certifications, industry associations, and staying updated on security technology.

The average salary is $50,000 to $60,000 per year (as of August 2022, Source: Aspiring locksmiths can gain experience through apprenticeships and explore opportunities with local companies or start their own businesses.

Continuous learning and joining trade associations contribute to professional growth.

Penalties for Illegal Lock Picking

In Mississippi, engaging in illegal lock picking can result in criminal penalties. The specific penalties may vary depending on the circumstances and the charges filed. Generally, individuals caught illegally picking locks may face charges related to burglary, possession of burglary tools, or other relevant offenses.

1.    Burglary Charges:

·         Illegally entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime, such as theft, using lock picking tools, can lead to burglary charges.

·         Penalties for burglary may include fines, imprisonment, or both, with severity based on factors like the degree of the offense.

2.    Possession of Burglary Tools:

·         Possession of lock picking tools with the intent to use them for unlawful purposes is prohibited.

·         Penalties for possession of burglary tools may include fines and imprisonment, and the concealment of such tools may be considered evidence of criminal intent.

3.    Other Related Offenses:

·         Depending on the circumstances, individuals may face additional charges, such as trespassing or criminal mischief.

4.    Criminal Record:

·         Convictions related to illegal lock picking may result in a criminal record, impacting future employment opportunities and personal reputation.

Do you want to know about similar aspects related to lock picking in other states as well? Other states like California, Arizona, Alaska, Alabama, Ohio, New York, Washington, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware , Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine etc. have also similar regulations.


In conclusion, the legality of lock picking in Mississippi hinges on a nuanced understanding of state laws. For students and locksport enthusiasts, it’s essential to recognize that while lock picking itself is not inherently illegal, the possession and use of lock picking tools can be subject to scrutiny.

Mississippi Code § 97-17-35 outlines the legal parameters, emphasizing that carrying concealed tools can be prima facie evidence of an intention to use them for unlawful purposes.

Therefore, staying informed about these statutes is crucial to ensure responsible engagement in the captivating world of lock picking within the bounds of Mississippi’s legal framework. For those pondering, “Is lock picking legal in Mississippi?” – The answer lies in navigating the law with knowledge and prudence.


  1. Is lock picking considered a criminal activity in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, lock picking itself is not inherently criminal. However, the possession and concealed carrying of lock picking tools may be subject to legal scrutiny. Individuals engaging in lock picking activities should be aware of and comply with state statutes, especially Mississippi Code § 97-17-35, to avoid potential legal consequences.

  1. Can I pursue lock picking as a hobby in Mississippi without legal repercussions?

Yes, lock picking can be pursued as a hobby in Mississippi, provided it is done responsibly and within the confines of the law. It’s crucial to stay informed about the specific regulations outlined in state statutes, ensuring that activities such as possessing lock picking tools are transparent and align with legal requirements.

  1. What steps can I take to ensure legal lock picking in Mississippi?

To engage in legal lock picking in Mississippi, individuals should:

– Be aware of state statutes, particularly Mississippi Code § 97-17-35, and comply with its provisions.

– Avoid concealed carrying of lock picking tools to prevent potential prima facie evidence of criminal intent.

– Use lock picking skills responsibly and ethically, respecting the boundaries of the law.

– Stay updated on any changes in state regulations related to lock picking to maintain lawful and responsible participation in this hobby.


  1. Locksmithing School: How to Become a Locksmith in Mississippi?
  2. Lockpick Laws In the United States
  3. Lock Pick Laws by State 2023


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