The appellate panel's ruling argued that Illinois had not made a strong case that a gun ban was vital to public safety. It also said the Supreme Court already decided that the Second Amendment "confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside."
The dissenting judge, Ann Claire Williams, said that firearms carried outside the home increased the risk of death or injury to a broader range of people.
Gun rights advocates had been threatening to make Illinois once again the center of the national gun-control debate over the issue. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court made Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban unenforceable, ruling that Americans have the right to have guns in their homes for protection. The city responded by approving alternative methods of restricting who can have guns.
Last month's ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by a former corrections officer, Michael Moore of Champaign; a farmer, Charles Hooks of Percy in southeastern Illinois and the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation