Nixon, who has been unlocking locks and providing Master Lock services in the county for about 30 years, runs his business from a specially equipped van.
“When I come to the courthouse they have an outside plug-in for me,” he said. “When I plug my van in with an extension cord it’s a fully equipped locksmith shop on wheels.”
He added that since his is a high security business he is glad the state has decided that locksmiths need to be licensed.
Locksmiths now have to be fingerprinted, have a police background check, prove they actually are competent to do the work and be employed by a licensed locksmith company to claim the title, Nixon said. The company has to show proof that it carries liability insurance, is licensed to do business and that its employees have the right qualifications, too.
The state then issues a photo ID that says the person is a licensed locksmith and also issues a license for the shop.
“This means the customer knows the smith and the company have insurance if they damage property, and that the smith has no criminal record and the skills to actually do the job,” Nixon said. “I think it’s a good thing. So if you need a locksmith, ask for a license.”
He said if a customer was to meet him on their front porch, he could open their front door before they could get their keys out of a pocket or purse. “With that kind of ability it’s important to know the locksmith is not going to use their skills to rob you.”
He said until this law was passed anyone could decide to claim to be a locksmith, obtain the tools and misuse the title and the equipment.“A man could get out of prison today and set up as a locksmith tomorrow,” he said. “This law prevents that kind of fly-by-night operator.”
For more information, call the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance at (615) 532-3369 or go on line to http://tn.gov/commerce/boards and click on Locksmith Licensing Advisory.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.