The E-FOID is now a thing. We heard way back at the beginning of concealed carry that we would one day be allowed to carry an electronic copy of our concealed carry license in Illinois. That window of opportunity closed with zero action from the state legislature. However with the passage of the FOID modernization act in 2021, we can now carry digital copies of our FOID cards and concealed carry licenses in Illinois… what we have affectionately coined, the “E-FOID”.
The FOID modernization act was passed in 2021 and took effect on January 1st, 2022. In May of 2022, the state police implemented the provision for electronic FOID cards. In this article, I’ll explain the changes in the firearm laws which allows the digital card, as well as where you may go to find your digital E-FOID.
First, is the recent change to the FOID law…
Illinois Firearm Owner Identification Card Compiled Statute
(430 ILCS 65/6.2)
Sec. 6.2. Electronic Firearm Owner's Identification Cards. Beginning January 1, 2022, the Illinois State Police may develop a system under which the holder of a Firearm Owner's Identification Card may display an electronic version of his or her Firearm Owner's Identification Card on a mobile telephone or other portable electronic device. An electronic version of a Firearm Owner's Identification Card shall contain security features the Illinois State Police determines to be necessary to ensure that the electronic version is accurate and current and shall satisfy other requirements the Illinois State Police determines to be necessary regarding form and content. The display or possession of an electronic version of a valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card in accordance with the requirements of the Illinois State Police satisfies all requirements for the display or possession of a valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card under the laws of this State. The possession or display of an electronic Firearm Owner's Identification Card on a mobile telephone or other portable electronic device does not constitute consent for a law enforcement officer, court, or other officer of the court to access other contents of the mobile telephone or other portable electronic device. The Illinois State Police may adopt rules to implement this Section.
(Source: P.A. 102-237, eff. 1-1-22.)
Layman’s translation: The Illinois state police may implement a digital system for a gun owner to carry a digital card in lieu of a physical card. Also, the state may adopt security features to determine the cards’ validity. Finally, if you show your phone to a law enforcement officer, they aren’t supposed to access any of the other files.
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Now the Concealed Carry law…
Illinois Concealed Carry License Compiled Statute
(430 ILCS 66/10.5)
Sec. 10.5. Electronic concealed carry licenses. The Illinois State Police may develop a system under which the holder of a concealed carry license may display an electronic version of his or her license on a mobile telephone or other portable electronic device. An electronic version of a concealed carry license shall contain security features the Illinois State Police determines to be necessary to ensure that the electronic version is accurate and current and shall satisfy other requirements the Illinois State Police determines to be necessary regarding form and content. The display or possession of an electronic version of a valid concealed carry license in accordance with the requirements of the Illinois State Police satisfies all requirements for the display or possession of a valid concealed carry license under the laws of this State. The possession or display of an electronic concealed carry license on a mobile telephone or other portable electronic device does not constitute consent for a law enforcement officer, court, or other officer of the court to access other contents of the mobile telephone or other portable electronic device. The Illinois State Police may adopt rules to implement this Section.
(Source: P.A. 102-237, eff. 1-1-22.)
Layman’s translation: the same as the FOID. You can carry your concealed firearm, assuming you’re licensed, and use the digital copy in lieu of the physical license. Again, law enforcement can’t access your other digital files.
Beyond the law, we also have to examine the administrative rules. JCAR sets the administrative rules. We have administrative rules for the FOID and Concealed Carry. First, here is what JCAR has to say about the E-FOID…
Section 1230.35 Possession and Validity of a FOID Card
4) Upon the development of a system under which an electronic version of a FOID card can be displayed on a mobile telephone or other portable electronic device, the possession of such electronic version shall satisfy the requirements of Section 2(a) of the Act regarding possession of a FOID Card so long as the device contains all security features required by the Department to ensure the electronic version is current and accurate.Illinois JCAR Administrative Rules
Layman’s translation, once the ISP gets around to developing an electronic system, which they did, the electronic FOID will be considered valid so long as it has the security features. This means a scanned copy of your physical card isn’t the same as the E-FOID which is available for download via the ISP (more on that in a second).
E-FOID Security Concerns
Many people have expressed security concerns about providing their unlocked phones to a police officer. I can understand their concern, even though the laws say they can’t access your files. For me, having forgotten my wallet at home while carrying on more than one occasion, I’m pleased to have a backup. Previously carrying your concealed firearm without having physical possession of your FOID cards was a misdemeanor. With the E-FOID, it is no longer a misdemeanor if you accidentally left your wallet at home. I still plan to keep my physical card on my person, but now I have a backup plan.
Gun Stores and the E-FOID
As the E-FOID is relatively new, it is unsure how gun stores will react to the E-FOID. Will they accept the FOID as proof when purchasing firearms or ammunition? That is to be determined. If you do not plan to carry your physical FOID on your person, perhaps call the gun store or gun range before you leave your house.
How To Access your E-FOID
To access your E-FOID, go to www.ispfsb.com and log in using your username and password. On the left side menu, you may see “My E Card”. On mobile, you may only see an icon that looks similar to a credit card. After you click it, you should then see a pop-up showing your FOID card. If you don’t see a pop-up, be sure you do not have pop-ups disabled.
Info about the E-FOID from the Illinois State Police
On June 24th, the Illinois State Police (ISP) released a LEADS bullet. That is a law enforcement directive, which directs law enforcement officers to accept the digital Firearm Owner Identification card as if it were a physical card. This bulletin reads, in part…
FOID is modernizing and taking a leap forward making FOID or CCL combo cards accessible online. ALEADS Daily Bulletin
FOID card holder is able to login into ispfsb.com via their smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device and by
clicking the “My eCard” button, bring up information regarding their most recent printed FOID Card. This
method communicates in real time the status of a FOID or CCL combo card. As a result, a card holder will
be able to display a newly approved FOID or CCL combo card even before the physical card is delivered in
the mail. This connection will not allow revoked, suspended, cancelled, or expired cards to be viewed, thus
preventing their use by bad actors. Additionally, each eCard is imprinted with a time and date stamp to the
exact second the eCard was clicked and generated by the card holder; accordingly, a photo of the eCard
cannot be retained for later use. Legislation effective January 1, 2022, makes the eCard a valid FOID or
CCL combo card for the purpose of completing firearm transactions or ammunition purchases. (430 ILCS
65/6.2). The ISP is still in the process of updating each FOID card holders’ account to include eCards;
therefore, not all cardholders will be able to view their eCard immediately.
June 24. 2022
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2 thoughts on “The Illinois E-FOID is a thing”
What about those of us who are listed as active and approved, but have yet to receive our first physical CCL card? State police told me there is a large backlog (8/23) and mine is weeks away from being printed. It will be in this case more than 1 month from the time I was approved for my CCL and due to receive the physical card.
mine was approved sept 30th, and I still do not have mine 9 weeks later??