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.
Gun control advocates did not immediately respond to the ruling. But as other states passed concealed carry laws, they had argued that Illinois' ban was important for their stance in the national debate over gun control.
The country needs "one state people can look to and see it's still doing the right thing," Mark Walsh, director of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said last year.
The ruling Monday 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.
John O'Connor was reporting from Springfield.
Follow Don Babwin at https://twitter.com/Dbabwin
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.