Thursday, February 06, 2020

1889 Institute calls for end to private investigator licensing

Not all states license private investigators and there is no evidence of problems.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (February 4, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published “Private Investigator Licensing in Oklahoma,” the Institute’s 14th installment in its Licensing Directory, which looks at specific licensed occupations and recommends whether or not they should remain licensed. Thus far, all fourteen of these reviews have recommended the repeal of the licensing laws for the occupations studied. This includes licensing for private investigators.

“The training requirements for private investigators and the dollar costs associated with them are not as egregiously high as some of the other occupations we have looked at,” said 1889 Institute’s Research Associate and author of the report, Spencer Cadavero. “Nevertheless, they are still unnecessary and licensing is the most onerous of government interventions that might help protect customers of private investigators,” he said.

As with previous studies of licensed occupations, two questions were asked to determine if Oklahomans who want to be private investigators should have to ask government permission (gain a license) in order to ply that trade. These are: 1) whether the occupation presents a real and probable risk of harm, and 2) whether, if there is such risk there is no way for markets to mitigate that risk.

“Since the answer to both of these questions is a resounding No,” said Cadavero, “private investigators should not be licensed.”

The study points out that armed private investigators in Oklahoma have some carry privileges not afforded to civilians with permits or exercising their right to carry. Private investigators licensed to carry under their licensing system can legally carry in schools, for example. It is suggested that the state could require registration and bonding as well as a higher level of training through the current carry permitting system without recourse to licensing, the most onerous form of labor regulation short of banning the occupation.

About the 1889 Institute
The 1889 Institute is an Oklahoma think tank committed to independent, principled state policy fostering limited and responsible government, free enterprise and a robust civil society. The publication, “Private Investigator Licensing in Oklahoma” can be found on the nonprofit’s website at


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