This is a good question. The best general answer is IT DEPENDS. Pennsylvania’s Act 235 law requires that Act 235 applicants pass a psychological examination to determine to a reasonable degree of professional psychological certainty whether applicants are mentally stable enough to safely handle a lethal weapon, most notably a firearm. The licensed psychologist is required to comment if he or she sees anything in the applicant’s behavior, self-reported history, interactions with the examiner and the examiner’s assistants, mental status presentation, and MMPI-2 test scores, that might be indicative of a mental health a psychiatric issue, or an honesty issue.

If you have a history of a mood disorder (such as Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder), an anxiety disorder (such as PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder), a personality disorder (such as Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, etc.), Attention Deficit Disorder, a Dissociative Disorder (such as Multiple Personality Disorder), an Addictive Disorder (such as serious past drug or drinking problems), or a Psychotic Disorder (such as Schizophrenia, Paranoia, Schizo-affective Disorder), then you may not be a suitable candidate for getting an armed security license. The key questions would be:

  1. How does your history of any of the above affect your current ability to safely handle a firearm under little stress and under significant stress?
  2. How does your history affect your current ability to learn in the classroom and also learn from experience?
  3. How competently and skillfully do you handle yourself around difficult people?
  4. How well can you resolve interpersonal up-close and personal conflicts without violence or succumbing to fear?

If you are taking any mind altering prescription drug, prescribed for a legitimate medical reason, the three key questions are:

1. Why is the drug prescribed for you?

2. What are its effects on your ability to think clearly and make good decisions under prolonged stress?

3. What does the drug do to your physical capabilities?

That is the best answer I can give you.

Dr. Eimer

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