By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings
Years ago I did my best to convince my fellow locksmiths that jumping on the licensing bandwagon was a mistake. During a heated discussion while attending a meeting organized by the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) one fellow wanted me to step out back and settle our differences the old fashioned way; maybe that would have been fun in my younger days.
We were told the state had already decided the locksmith industry was going to be licensed and so we had better come up with a plan to submit to the legislature, one that would be favorable toward our needs. That plan was approved by members of the Texas Locksmith Association (TLA) board and passed around so everyone in attendance could get a look at it. Unfortunately that wasn’t the bill which the legislators were handed.
I couldn’t say for sure what happened in the back rooms of Austin; but you can bet the farm that the ALOA and Alarm Service Industry folks had their hand in the deal since these were the same folks who’d insisted the locksmith industry get licensed to begin with. We were placed under the Department of Public Safety held in check by a bureaucracy which is now called the Private Security Bureau (DPS/PSB), a board of appointees which supposedly represents the interests of the entire Security Industry, more particularly, the Alarm Services Industry; well shucky-dern, isn’t that a coincidence.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since that time; but there has yet to be one locksmith sitting on the DPS/PSB, something which should tell you locksmiths are not being given any representation when it comes to laying down the rules.
I expect one day a locksmith will eventually sit on the DPS/PSB as promised so many years ago; but then again, consider who that individual might be… You can count on it being a sycophant willing to go along with whatever the powers that be direct, just like the TLA and GHLA board members of the past. No thank you, let’s just step outside and settle this like we should have done so many years ago.
Licensing serves a couple of purposes, neither of which protects the public from unscrupulous vendors. First, licensing limits competition for those who are already covered and secondly it acts as a revenue generator for the State which is more than happy to destroy the free market system (socialism/communism) by enslaving those required to obtain and then maintain a license. All cost increases to a business are then passed along to the consumer who must also pay for a protection racket run by the State which doesn’t provide protection; not much different than protection rackets run by the Mafia.
Fast forward to the present, specifically a message from the president of the Greater Houston Locksmith Association (GHLA) found in the monthly newsletter.
“At the TLA Convention, the legislative update from DPS/PSB was simply about the locksmith laws that those in the industry are already aware of them. As an organization, we need to be prepared to take a different approach when it comes to the lobbyist in Austin, Texas. It takes money to see changes and not be ignored by the P.S.B. A different approach is much needed.” (emphasis added)
After all these years GHLA board members have finally figured out that the DPS/PSB folks have been ignoring them. The DPS/PSB is good at ignoring locksmiths and imposing mandates arbitrarily, mandates which are costly in both time and effort and do absolutely nothing to improve the industry or provide any measure of ‘promised security’ for the public.
Just a couple of weeks ago while attending the TLA convention in Plano, Texas, the one mentioned in the president’s message, I met with a couple of new GHLA board members. My purpose for attending was to represent the Society Of Professional Locksmiths (SOPL) and to encourage those in the TLA and GHLA to become members and support this national locksmith association; one which wasn’t under the thumb of the Alarm Services Industry or the ALOA.
SOPL has on-line training courses which cover a wide variety of locksmith related items and are cost efficient. If these classes were to be approved and shared at meetings held by either the TLA or GHLA for the purpose of obtaining Mandated Credit Hours to maintain an individual’s locksmith license, members would be that much better off.
I introduced myself to one of the new board members who didn’t know me; no surprise since I prefer tending to my business rather than attending local meetings, and explained that he needed to properly represent locksmiths along with some history (some of this was a real eye opener to him), history which can be reviewed by reading articles I’ve written on the subject.
I drove home the point that it was important to stop dancing with the enemy, the enemy being the DPS/PSB, that our going along quietly had done nothing to improve the individual locksmith’s position and that we were in fact 2nd Class citizens that had no voice.
Maybe, just maybe some locksmith’s eyes are starting to open. They are beginning to understand that the State is not our friend and that somebody needs to stand up to them instead of paying a lobbyist to plead mercy at the feet of our Puppet Masters (DPS/PSB).
A complimentary copy of this article will be sent to the Texas Locksmith Association (TLA), the Greater Houston Locksmith Association (GHLA) as well as the Society Of Professional Locksmiths (SOPL).
This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.