A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down Illinois' ban on carrying concealed weapons, handing a significant victory to gun-rights advocates.
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled against the Illinois law, but gave the state 180 days to craft a new piece of legislation that would deal with the court's concerns.
Illinois was the only state where carrying a concealed weapon was entirely illegal.
State and Chicago officials announced they would study the ruling before deciding on their next step.
The issue of gun rights has long been a thorny one, pitting many municipal leaders against conservative backers of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. Many officials argue that limiting access to guns helps decrease violent crime, while opponents of such measures contend that prohibiting concealed weapons violates constitutional guarantees.
In its ruling, the appeals panel agreed with conservatives, reversing a lower-court decision.
"The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside," Judge Richard Posner wrote in the court's majority opinion. "The theoretical and empirical evidence [which overall is inconclusive] is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense."