I personally don't think it should be locked.
We are talking about a machine with a clutched spindle, with D1- camlock nose, I/M threading, in the 2000# territory.
IMO that's not "home shop grade".
What I think you get based on taking apart a Clausing Metosa (similar size, weight, swing etc, and not made in USA) to resolve some issues with the tailstock out of alignment with spindle center is this...
1. all the "sliding way" components are ground to size and then assembled. There is no scraping. I say this out of objectivity only, not to condemn the brand or country of origin. Obviously it keeps skilled labor costs down to continue the price point.
2. the way wipers are iffy, keep the machine very clean. The tailstock issues above were a result of chips going under the tailstock base way wipers, then getting jammed/brinnelled into the ground surface by the over-center clamping lever. I went around with a flat scraper and dug out the swarf, things got much better then. I made a mental note that I need to take apart the apron next time we have downtime as that's likely in a similar situation.
Anyway, to address the OP, I have no experience with a Kent.