Lethal Weapons Training Program

The Lethal Weapons Training Act 235 provides certification to privately employed agents to carry a lethal weapon.


A lethal weapon is any firearm, device, instrument, material, or any other substance that is capable of bringing about great bodily harm or death. The Lethal Weapons Training Act (Act 235) incorporates education and training as part of being a certified agent.

Act 235 provides for the training and licensing of watch guards, protective patrolmen, detectives, and criminal investigators in carrying and using lethal weapons in their employment.

The act imposes powers and duties on the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Act 235 certification and license to carry

In August 2017, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued an opinion in Commonwealth v. Anderson, ___ A.3d ___ (Aug. 23, 2017), and ruled that an Act 235 certification is not a substitute for a license to carry.  Agents are reminded of the Regulations governing Act 235, at Section 21.26(d), which state "The issuance of a certification card to a privately employed agent does not grant the agent the right or privilege to carry, possess, own, or have under his control a firearm contrary to 18 Pa.C.S. § §  6101—6120 (relating to Uniform Firearms Act)."

In light of this ruling, it may be prudent for agents to obtain a license to carry their firearms while in an off-duty status, including traveling to and from places of employment, or in instances where agents are required to conceal a firearm on duty, including loaded carry inside of a vehicle. Agents should direct questions regarding this to their employers.

Contact the certification unit

Pennsylvania State Police
Lethal Weapons Certification Unit
8002 Bretz Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17112-9748