I have always wanted to learn how to pick locks because I think its cool. But ive heard it isn't legal in some states or it is legal but you cant do illegal stuff with them. And ive looked at the RCW but all those legal words are kinda confusing. I don't want to get in trouble if I can avoid it.
It is illegal if you have lock picks and there is also some indication or proof that you intend to use the picks to commit a burglary or if they were used in a burglary. If you were to pick a lock that you did not have permission to pick and was not your own, that would also very likely to be illegal. This hobby may be more trouble than it's worth.
RCW 9A.52.070 provides:
"Every person who shall make or mend or cause to be made or mended, or have in his or her possession, any engine, machine, tool, false key, pick lock, bit, nippers, or implement adapted, designed, or commonly used for the commission of burglary under circumstances evincing an intent to use or employ, or allow the same to be used or employed in the commission of a burglary, or knowing that the same is intended to be so used, shall be guilty of making or having burglar tools."
So, it is only illegal to have them if you intend to use them illegally. However, it is difficult to convince the cop that you didn't intend to use them when he finds you with them on you.
I'd look to see if anyone in your area offers classes and the like.
This post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice specific to you. This general information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your jurisdiction. An attorney client relationship is not established by this post.
It is not illegal to have them if you have no intent to use them for an illegal purpose. But, as the other responders have said, it will be difficult to convince law enforcement that you do not intend to use them as such if you are found with them in your possession.
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