Here's the law, straight from the United States Code

Posted by Arnie on February 28, 1998 at 17:10:07:


Here's the actual text of the law for both post office box and military keys, taken from the United States Code. Since this question comes up periodically, perhaps Jay will want to post these on the resources page,


18 U.S.C 1704


1704. Keys or locks stolen or reproduced

Whoever steals, purloins, embezzles, or obtains by false pretense any key suited to any lock adopted by the Post Office Department or the Postal Service and in use on any of the mails or bags thereof, or any key to any lock box, lock drawer, or other authorized receptacle for the deposit or delivery of mail matter; or

Whoever knowingly and unlawfully makes, forges, or counterfeits any such key, or possesses any such mail lock or key with the intent unlawfully or improperly to use, sell, or otherwise dispose of the same, or to cause the same to be unlawfully or improperly used, sold, or otherwise disposed of; or

Whoever, being engaged as a contractor or otherwise in the manufacture of any such mail lock or key, delivers any finished or unfinished lock or the interior part thereof, or key, used or designed for use by the department, to any person not duly authorized under the hand of the Postmaster General and the seal of the Post Office Department or the Postal Service, to receive the same, unless the person receiving it is the contractor for furnishing the same or engaged in the manufacture thereof in the manner authorized by the contract, or the agent of such manufacturer--

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

18 U.S.C 1386


1386. Keys and keyways used in security applications by the Department of Defense

(a)(1) Whoever steals, purloins, embezzles, or obtains by false pretense any lock or key to any lock, knowing that such lock or key has been adopted by any part of the Department of Defense, including all Department of Defense agencies, military departments, and agencies thereof, for use in protecting conventional arms, ammunition or explosives, special weapons, and classified information or classified equipment shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(2) Whoever--

(A) knowingly and unlawfully makes, forges, or counterfeits any key, knowing that such key has been adopted by any part of the Department of Defense, including all Department of Defense agencies, military departments, and agencies thereof, for use in protecting conventional arms, ammunition or explosives, special weapons, and classified information or classified equipment; or

(B) knowing that any lock or key has been adopted by any part of the Department of Defense, including all Department of Defense agencies, military departments, and agencies thereof, for use in protecting conventional arms, ammunition or explosives, special weapons, and classified information or classified equipment, possesses any such lock or key with the intent to unlawfully or improperly use, sell, or otherwise dispose of such lock or key or cause the same to be unlawfully or improperly used, sold, or otherwise disposed of,

shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(3) Whoever, being engaged as a contractor or otherwise in the manufacture of any lock or key knowing that such lock or key has been adopted by any part of the Department of Defense, including all Department of Defense agencies, military departments, and agencies thereof, for use in protecting conventional arms, ammunition or explosives, special weapons, and classified information or classified equipment, delivers any such finished or unfinished lock or any such key to any person not duly authorized by the Secretary of Defense or his designated representative to receive the same, unless the person receiving it is the contractor for furnishing the same or engaged in the manufacture thereof in the manner authorized by the contract, or the agent of such manufacturer, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(b) Whoever commits an offense under subsection (a) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

(c) As used in this section, the term "key" means any key, keyblank, or keyway adopted by any part of the Department of Defense, including all Department of Defense agencies, military departments, and agencies thereof, for use in protecting conventional arms, ammunition or explosives, special weapons, and classified information or classified equipment.




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