Legal status of bump keys and rekeying kits in Texas

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Old 12-14-10, 11:14 AM
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Legal status of bump keys and rekeying kits in Texas

What's the legal status of bump keys and re-keying kits in Texas. I'm a landlord, and such tools would come in handy from time to time, but I don't want to get arrested.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 04:03 PM
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Can't see how a re-keying kit would be a problem

I have to pick a couple locks a year on our units and no one seems to care I have picks, never got the hang of bumping - I'm not a locksmith but I've always been ready with the line I'm the acting locksmith for the company, so far haven't found out what it will do for me

Might be best to check with local police to get their opinion
 
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Old 12-15-10, 11:37 PM
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Texas has some of the toughest enforced rules and regulations for locksmiths in the country. I believe that to possess locksmithing tools of any kind (including bump keys), requires that the holder be licensed as a locksmith.

I'll try to find the act.
 
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Old 12-18-10, 10:28 PM
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Check out Texas Penal Code Chapter 16.01, re: "Criminal Instruments"......like in most states, mere possession is not a crime; it has to be shown that there is an intent to commit an offense. Of course, "intent" may be a somewhat subjective determination. If I were a landlord, I would want to make sure I had sent the requisite notifications by registered mail to the tennant of my intentions to open the door for the purpose of re-keying the lock. (Don't know about "Tennent Rights" here in Texas). You probably have "renter guidlines" on that.

I know this code was in effect a number of years ago, but you might check to see if it's still in effect.

Re-keying kits are not criminal instruments, so probably not a factor.
 
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Old 12-18-10, 10:51 PM
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Oh, and a follow-up to Mitch17's comment...be careful about telling anyone you're a locksmith, acting or otherwise, if your state requires licensing of smithies....if you perform locksmith-type work AND advertise (which could mean simply telling others) that you are a locksmith, but don't hold the license, you could be in some hot water.
 
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Old 12-18-10, 11:18 PM
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And another thought....re: bump keys, while John Q Public couldn't tell a bump key from an ordinary key, law enforcement agencies are becoming adept at recognizing the particular shape of these keys, and so they would be classified as "criminal instruments", just like lock picks.
 
 

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