An Open Letter to All Locksmiths — T.F. Stern

By T.F. Stern,


This article was originally posted on Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America’s website as, An Open Letter to all locksmiths regarding Proposed Texas Legislation HB2577 , SB1400 and HB1867 .

I read the introductory line regarding proposed legislation on the GHLA website and have to wonder why, “It is important that we work cooperatively to get our industry omnibus bill passed without to many changes.” For all practical purposes SB1400 and HB1867 make no significant changes to the licensing of locksmiths and act only as a continuation of what is already on the books; unless you wish to spotlight the addition of a single licensed locksmith to the 9 member board of DPS/PSB.

HB2577 is a round about way of making it a crime for anyone other than a licensed locksmith to own or produce specialty tools of our trade when used with criminal intent. I’d say this was really dumb since criminal intent must be established in concert with some other crime committed and would already be covered under criminal law. What HB2577 does is establish yet another violation of civil rights by implying criminal intent by virtue of ownership or production of specialty tools associated with the locksmith industry, as if (licensed) locksmiths had exclusive proprietary right to these items.

I’ve written many articles regarding the licensing of locksmiths and the associated loss of God given rights through well meaning legislative efforts instigated by and through ALOA, TLA and GHLA. What many of my fellow locksmiths fail to recognize is the fine line between membership requirements in those fine organizations and the necessary separation of thought and action when it comes to defining laws which restrict any individual’s movement within the free market system.

I’ll offer some lines from H. Verlan Andersen’s book, Many are Called, But Few are Chosen. This book is available on line in its entirety and I often quote from it in my own writings; having been given permission from the publisher. Chapter 7, is titled, Acts of Government Which Constitute an Exercise of Unrighteous Dominion and is the source of the following quotes:

“Another questionable but extremely common practice is to use the police power to give ourselves monopolistic protection against competitors. This would be called a criminal conspiracy and branded as extortion if forcibly engaged in without government protection and approval.”
“Today in the United States, monopoly protection is afforded by the police power in nearly every line of economic activity: in the professions and trades; in transportation and communication; in agriculture and labor; in finance, banking, and many other lines. How does this vast system of government enforced monopolies stand the conscience test and the application of the Golden Rule?”

Isn’t this exactly what locksmith licensing is guilty of? Are we not attempting to limit competition through Lilliputian mandates? While it is not my style to preach; I’ll make an exception and include a rather lengthy quote from this same chapter:

“Men use a variety of arguments to justify the use of the police power to restrict competition. Some claim there is over-production of the commodities or services they are offering. When one considers the millions who are classified as paupers in every nation on earth with death and want in many places, how can it be asserted that there is an oversupply of any form of organized wealth? True, there are raw materials, and energy in abundance but man’s desire for the finished product is insatiable and always exceeds the supply.

Still others argue that open competition in their field should be prohibited because, if this were not done, the unlearned, the unskilled, and the inexperienced would be serving the public. But this argument assumes it is possible to classify men into two groups—the qualified and the unqualified. Is this assumption valid? (emphasis added)

Let us investigate this matter by first observing that no one is perfect. There never was and there never will be a professional or business man who could not benefit from more knowledge, training, experience, skill, and better facilities with which to serve the public. This fact must be faced: there are not two groups of men—the qualified and the unqualified; there is only one group and every member of it is unqualified to some extent.

This being true, the only choice open is between varying degrees of incompetence, inexperience, and ignorance. Now is there a man living who can honestly claim that he is able to make a division of this group, confer special privileges on one segment which are denied to the other, and still be fair to everyone? What rational basis exists for determining where the line should be drawn? How much training or experience should be required before permitting a person to offer his services to the public—6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years, or double one of these periods? It is impossible for men to reach agreement on this problem or for any person to say with certainty he is right in his opinion and all who disagree are wrong.

It is also impossible to reach agreement on who should be given the power to set up the qualifications for engaging in a given economic activity and force their views on all others. Some may contend that those already engaged in the profession, trade, or business should have this privilege. Others would confer the power upon some agency of government. Still others contend that the matter should be settled by majority vote.

Since all men are to a greater or lesser extent unqualified to serve the public, and since it is impossible to find a fair or a logical basis for making a division of the unqualified, and since it is also impossible to reach agreement on who should be given the power to confer special privileges on some which are denied to others, why not leave the decision to the only person who has a moral right to make it—the one who is paying the bill? Why not adopt a policy which allows every member of the consuming public to decide for himself how much education, experience, facilities, etc. are necessary to engage in a profession or a business? No one can devise a more equitable method than this.

If those who hold themselves out to serve the public misrepresent the extent of their training and experience or otherwise act in a criminal manner, they should be punished for such wrongdoing by the police power. One form of punishment might be to deny them the privilege of engaging in such activities for a specified period of time. Also, if they perform their work negligently and cause injury, they may be held liable to those who have suffered damage.

But why should we prejudge them? Why should we impose prior restraints and threaten them with jail or fine for even attempting to serve the public in their chosen field? They may do much good and no harm. Their services may be needed.

If those who consider themselves better trained than others desire to form an exclusive professional group and limit membership to applicants who have met certain minimum requirements, this should be their privilege and no one should interfere with it. Furthermore, if they desire to inform the public as to whom they consider qualified to engage in a given profession, trade, or business, this basic right should be protected.

But to give one partially qualified group (or their government agents) the power to forcibly prevent those they consider less qualified from competing is rank discrimination and an abuse of the power of government. (emphasis added)

D&C 134:5 tells us very plainly that, the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never suppress the freedom of the soul. It is a direct violation of this scripture for us to direct our agents in government to punish our fellow men for engaging in perfectly legitimate business or professional activities. We do not restrain crime or punish guilt when we do this, but we do suppress the freedom of the soul.

When we use the police power to prevent our fellow men from buying goods and services from whomsoever they desire we are treating them as children or mental incompetents who are unable to make their own decisions. We are either prohibiting them from purchasing a desired commodity or service or compelling them to trade with someone they would not have patronized had we allowed them their freedom in the matter.

When we direct our bureaucratic servants to forcibly prevent a farmer from raising certain crops on his own land; when we deny the youth who emerge from our schools the right to work at any trade, business, or profession they desire without first getting the exact amount of training we have decreed and obtaining the express consent of our government agents; when we substitute our own judgment for that of our fellow men and threaten them with a loss of their life, liberty, or property if they engage in perfectly legitimate economic pursuits except in accordance with rules we have laid down, we have clearly done things which we would consider highly immoral if done outside the framework of government.

How can we bring ourselves to do these things to one another? Are we deceiving ourselves as to the real reason behind our actions? Could it be that instead of fearing overproduction of the goods or services we offer for sale, we really are trying to create a scarcity so that we can enrich ourselves with the higher prices restrictive legislation permits us to charge?

Is it possible that, instead of fearing that some untrained novice will injure society by offering inferior services, we are really using the force of law to create an exclusive class of citizens to which only a select few may belong? With these questions in mind let us consider the following scripture: (emphasis added)

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121:34-36)

We might also ask ourselves if, when we forcibly prevent the buying public from patronizing anyone they desire, we are not proving the accuracy of the following judgment and penalty pronounced by the Lord upon men in general:

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Hence, many are called, but few are chosen. (D&C 121:39-40)”

If, after having been given the information just shared, you or anyone can justify support for the proposed legislation mentioned above, or for that matter, support legislation which has already been imposed on the locksmith industry I would ask, “How?”

We are responsible for all we do in mortality and our actions follow us into eternity. Could we look up at our Lord, when faced with our actions at the Great Bar of Justice, and say that we took his admonitions seriously, that we acted in the spirit of our founding principles? We live in a nation which acknowledged our Creator as having established inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all individuals and yet it has been the agenda of the ALOA, TLA and GHLA to destroy these God given rights, all in the name of a more professional locksmith industry, using police powers of the State to limit God given rights as if by doing so Utopia would be guaranteed and citizens would automatically be safer.

I have no problem with any of these organizations raising the bar for membership and consider it an honor to be a member of GHLA; however, I stand firmly against them when they attempt to enlist police powers of the State, unrighteous dominion over any individual citizen, through licensing with its accompanying strangle hold of rules and regulations. I will continue to expose locksmith licensing as a malignant cancer which has its origins on the opposite side of liberty.

T.F. Stern, GSP

The Moral Lib­eral asso­ciate edi­tor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.