Find answers to the most common questions about the Retired Law Enforcement Identification Act below.

Frequently asked questions

Common questions and answers about Act 79 of 2005:

No. The identification card issued by your former law enforcement employer will not be assigned an expiration date. You are only required to request a new qualification card if you desire to carry a firearm under the Act 79 (Retired Law Enforcement Identification Act) when the old one expires.

No. Law enforcement officers retiring prior to the effective date of the new regulation (37 Pa. Code, Chapter 221), can request a new identification card from their former law enforcement agency, pay the required fee, and receive the new identification card within 60 days of the request [37 Pa. Code §221.23 (b)].

No. A firearms instructor cannot qualify nor issue a qualification card to an individual who does not have an identification card issued by a law enforcement agency defined in the Act.

“A retired law enforcement officer shall meet the firearms standards established by the public agency from which the law enforcement officer retired or the guidelines established by the Commission to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm that the officer intends to carry” (37 Pa. Code §221.33 (c). Download the current Commission firearms qualification guidelines.

Firearms qualification will include instruction on the use of force by a civilian found in 18 Pa. C.S. Chapter 5 (relating to general principles of justification) the Crimes Code.  [37 Pa. Code §221.33 (c)]

The law is clear: certified law enforcement firearms instructors can set the fee based on what the market will bear. There will be many firearm instructors participating in the program statewide. Retired officers may benefit from contacting several individuals from the list of qualified instructors (available by county) to get the best training at the most reasonable fee.

According to the regulations for the administration of the program, “If your qualification card is lost, stolen, destroyed, mutilated or becomes illegible,” the retired officer may obtain a replacement qualification card by requesting one from the firearms instructor who conducted their original qualification.  The retired officer is responsible for paying the required fee as set by the firearms instructor. Another option would be to re-qualify with a different certified police firearms instructor. [37 Pa. Code §221.34 (a)]

The new regulation follows specific guidelines already stated in the federal law on this subject. The background check covers the post retirement period and is required to be updated annually.

No. As long as you met the other state’s standards for training and qualification within the most recent 12-month period, you will not be required to obtain a qualification card for that year in Pennsylvania [18 U.S. §926C (c) (5)]. If you continue to reside in Pennsylvania after the qualification card expires, you may qualify in Pennsylvania with a firearm through an instructor recognized by the Commission and obtain a qualification card. Until that time, you must carry the identification card and qualification card from the state issued if you carry a concealed weapon.

You must request a new identification card from the law enforcement agency from which you retired when information has changed or when the original identification is stolen, destroyed, mutilated, or becomes illegible. A new qualification card must be requested from the certified firearms instructor providing the instruction and qualification when information changes or the original qualification card is lost, stolen, destroyed, mutilated, or become illegible.