EASLEY — Everybody’s done it: you’re in a hurry, you’re unloading groceries or you thought for sure the keys were in your pocket.
And then, as soon as the door clicks shut, you realize your keys are sitting on the driver’s seat and you just locked yourself out.
But once that’s happened, when the old coat hanger trick failed you, you’re left with only one option: call a locksmith. And that’s where guys like Randy Everette come into play.
“It happens all the time, if it didn’t, I’d have to find a new line of work,” said Everette, owner of 123 Lock and Key in Easley. “But the question really, when you call out a locksmith — do you know whose coming out to gain access to your home or your car?”
Everette said unlike other states, South Carolina does not currently require a license to be a locksmith.
“It’s a problem,” he said. “There’s no background checks, there’s no governing board — anybody can just buy the tools and print up some business cards and go do this.”
So, what’s to stop someone who had been convicted of burglary from buying lock-picking equipment?
“Nothing,” he said. “But more than that, what’s to stop a company from hiring a convicted felon or sex offender and then sending them off to your location? Again, nothing.”
The S.C. Legislature recently passed House Bill 3038, which would enact a series of regulations, a Board of Locksmiths and create testing and educational criteria for all would-be locksmiths in the state.
In addition, the bill would require fingerprint-based national criminal background checks on all applicants.
“North Carolina already has something similar to this and it’s past time South Carolina caught up,” Everette said. “Not everyone will be happy about it, but I think it really needs to happen.”
The bill was passed in the House on March 31 and sent to the Senate where it underwent first reading and is currently residing in the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.
It is not clear if the bill will make it back to the Senate floor any time soon but in the meantime, Everette says there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
“For one, make sure they have a store-front,” he said. “You’d be surprised how many of these guys list an address and then when you try to go there — it’s an old gas station or something. Second, ask if they belong to the South Carolina Locksmith Association.”
The association, while not a governing body, can help you weed out the pros from the riff-raff, he said.
“Anybody who takes this seriously is going to belong to the association,” Everette said. “And if they’re not, ask why.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.