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Illinois Concealed Weapons Ban Tossed By Court

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A federal appeals court in Chicago has struck down Illinois' ban on carrying concealed weapons.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the state's ban on carrying a weapon in public is unconstitutional.

DePaul University law professor Leonard Cavise said the court's ruling means "there's gonna be circumstances under which people are gonna be able to carry guns in public."

The state now has six months to pass a law that would allow ordinary citizens to carry weapons.

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"A blanket prohibition on carrying gun in public prevents a person from defending himself anywhere except inside his home; and so substantial a curtailment of the right of armed self-defense requires a greater showing of justification than merely that the public might benefit on balance from such a curtailment, though there is no proof it would," the judges wrote.

"We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. 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."

RELATED: The Appeals Court Decision

Illinois is the only state that has a concealed carry gun ban.

The ruling is a victory for gun rights advocates, who argue that the prohibition against concealed weapons violates the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment and what they see as Americans' right to carry guns for self-defense.

According to the National Rifle Association, although convicted felons likely would be barred from carrying a concealed weapon once the legislature comes up with a concealed carry law, Illinois residents with legally-owned firearms will likely be able to get a conceal and carry permit for everyday packing.

"We're ecstatic," said Todd Vandermyde, the NRA's chief Illinois lobbyist. "Today's ruling said you have a right to self-defense outside the four corners of your home, and outside the four corners of your land. That's huge."

But the NRA's ecstasy becomes activist agony in some violent Chicago neighborhoods. On the city's West Side, those fighting gun violence every day painted a grim picture of allowing concealed carry in Illinois.

"We've got enough guns out here now that individuals is carrying legally or illegally. We don't need that," said Louvenia Hood, executive director of Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office told the Associated Press it is reviewing the ruling and would not comment Tuesday.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by former corrections officer Michael Moore of Champaign, farmer Charles Hooks of Percy in southeastern Illinois and the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation.

It's the latest setback for gun control advocates.

Earlier this year, a federal judge threw out a part of Chicago's gun law, finding a section of the ordinance is too vague and unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan ruled in favor of Chicago resident Shawn Gowder, who was denied a permit to possess a gun in Chicago, due to a past conviction for unlawful use of a weapon.

Gowder was denied a city firearm permit, because the city's gun ordinance prohibits anyone from getting a city firearm permit if they have been convicted of a violent crime, two or more DUI offenses, or unlawful use of a weapon involving a firearm. Gowder had a misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon conviction on his record.

But Gowder sued the city, arguing the section barring anyone with an unlawful use of a weapon conviction from obtaining a city firearm permit was too vague, "because it does not define the term 'unlawful use of a weapon.'"

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city's ban on handgun possession within city limits, and then-Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City Council later passed a new gun ordinance, allowing city residents to possess handguns only within their own homes, and requiring them to first obtain city firearm permits.

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