Chancellor dismisses gun-toting man's complaint against state

Monday, January 24, 2011 at 4:16pm

A Davidson County chancellor has dismissed Leonard Embody’s complaint against the state, which he filed last year, claiming that state law unconstitutionally criminalized the carrying of firearms.

In an order filed Friday, Jan. 21, Chancellor Russell T. Perkins granted a motion by the state attorney general’s office to dismiss Embody’s complaint.

That complaint focused on a section of state law prohibiting citizens from carrying a firearm, knife with a blade longer than four inches or a club “with the intent to go armed.”

Embody claimed the section was too vague and violated his constitutional rights under the state constitution as well as the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

In his order, Perkins wrote that the state is within its authority to regulate the use of “constitutionally protected weapons” when doing so “with a view to prevent crime.”

Perkins cited the Tennessee case of Kendall v. State, writing that carrying a firearm is prohibited when done so in a manner “readily accessible and available for use in the carrying out of purposes either offensive or defensive.”

Perkins later stated the section of state law mentioned in the complaint “is within the regulatory powers of the state and bears a well-defined relation to the prevention of crime by regulating the manner in which a firearm may be carried.”

An email statement from the state attorney general’s office read, “We are pleased the court ruled in our behalf, upholding the constitutionality of the law allowing reasonable regulation of the right to carry weapons in public.”

Embody said he does not agree with the order.

"I don't think people who can't afford a handgun carry permit or people who have no federal or state disability should be barred from carrying a handgun for self-defense," he said. "I plan on motioning the court to amend or alter the judgment. I also plan on appealing based upon how the motion to amend goes."

Embody made headlines in December 2009 for carrying an AK-47 pistol in Radnor Lake State Park and a couple weeks later for carrying an 1851 replica Navy pistol as he walked along Belle Meade Boulevard.

In both cases, he was stopped and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Following the Radnor Lake incident, Embody also sued Park Ranger Steve Ward last February, claiming the ranger detained him for “longer than was reasonably necessary” to investigate any criminal wrongdoing and without probable cause in violation of Embody’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Embody claimed that, after he was stopped and released after showing another park ranger his carry permit, Ward stopped Embody at gunpoint and detained him for more than three hours.

That suit is still pending in U.S. District Court.

The Tennessee Department of Safety suspended Embody’s handgun carry permit last March, stating he “poses a material likelihood of risk to the public” based on information provided by the Belle Meade Police Department following Embody’s encounter with police in the Belle Meade Boulevard incident.

In September, Embody dropped an appeal seeking an administrative hearing on the permit suspension so that his complaint against the state could move forward, he said at the time.

12 Comments on this post:

By: RTungsten on 1/24/11 at 6:08

I'm glad to see our tax dollars are going to fight this idiot. I wish he would walk around Bordeaux with his gun drawn, preferrably at night. Someone asking him for a permit would be the least of his problems.

By: ace6off on 1/24/11 at 6:24

You are correct RTungsten. I was raised in Bordeaux and this poser wouldn't last 5 minutes. They would take his gun away and show him who his daddy is!

By: unclesam328 on 1/24/11 at 8:52

What does this say about Bordeaux

By: WickedTribe on 1/24/11 at 8:53

The really embarrassing part is that this guy is a nursing student. Or at least he was... I'm hoping he's failed out by now.

By: govskeptic on 1/25/11 at 7:34

This guy is certainly a Joke seeking publicity among other things.
He is an embarrasement and shameful abuser of the Gun carry
permit law and should be recognized as just that and certainly not
typical of other permit holders!

By: kwikrnu on 1/25/11 at 8:10

I am a nursing student and have a Federal Firearms License along with handgun carry licenses from Florida and Arizona.

By: kwikrnu on 1/25/11 at 8:28

Chancellor Perkins cited Kendall v State, but the US Supreme Court, in 2008 cited the decision in State v. Reid, 1 Ala. 612, 616–617 (1840) “A statute which, under the pretence of regulating, amounts to a destruction of the right, or which requires arms to be so borne as to render them wholly useless for the purpose of defence, would be clearly unconstitutional”).” District of Columbia v. Heller.

The US Supreme Court also had the following to say, “Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” District of Columbia v. Heller.

TCA 39-17-1307(a)(1) requires arms be carried unloaded and criminalizes carry of loaded firearms.

By: SgtScott31 on 1/25/11 at 9:07

Still trying to use Heller to support your argument I see. I guess you enjoy leaving out the US Supreme Court's opinion in that ruling that their decision in Heller was not to be interpreted that other firearm regulation was unconstitutional (i.e. permits). Heller and its facts had to do with the prohibition of handguns in the home and DC's attempt to tell homeowners that their weapons had to be locked while they were in the house. The Heller decision has nothing to do with a state's regulation to require a permit to carry. I thought you would have learned that by now. Keep filing your motions. It's not going to do any good.

By: kwikrnu on 1/25/11 at 9:13

That is not true. In order to decide the Heller case the Court had to define the Second Amendment. What they wrote about the carry of firearms outside the home is not just dicta. It was central to the decision.

By: AmyLiorate on 1/25/11 at 12:51

Leonard shouldn't have been detained for 3 hours. I hope that case works out in his favor.

It's good to see your efforts moving forward with regard to the TN Cons term “with a view to prevent crime”. I'm interested to see how the next level works out for you and the bounds we have agreed to.

By: AmyLiorate on 1/25/11 at 12:52

Was the comment about Bordeaux serious? You guys are making the case for concealed carry with no fees. "Vermont Style" gun laws if you will.

What area of town would be described as poorer than Bordeaux?
What area of town would be described as generally high in crime, and violent crime at that?

So if a poor old retired man on fixed income lives in Bordeaux - isn't he the good citizen who might most need to protect himself? The closest example to someone who can't pay hundreds of dollars for training classes and fees for background checks.

By: gdiafante on 1/25/11 at 1:17

Man, TN is full of nuts.