Gun rights activist sues state after carry permit revoked

Monday, August 2, 2010 at 8:01pm

Leonard S. Embody, the man dubbed the “Radnor Lake Rambo” after he openly carried his firearm at places such as Radnor Lake State Park and on Belle Meade Boulevard, is suing the state after it suspended his handgun carry permit.

In his suit, Embody claims that Tennessee’s handgun carry permit laws are unconstitutionally vague and violate his constitutional rights to bear arms and be provided due process of law. He also said that forcing citizens to get permits to carry handguns violates his Second Amendment rights.

The suit names the state Attorney General Robert Cooper and Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell as defendants. It seeks to declare certain sections of state law regarding handgun carry permits as unconstitutional and that his permit be immediately reinstated.

Spokespersons for both the state Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Safety declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Embody said in light of his suspension as well as the late June U.S. Supreme Court opinion in McDonald v. Chicago, which appeared to heavily restrict state and local authorities’ abilities to limit the right to bear arms, he’s challenging the state laws on carry permits.

“Basically what I’m doing, is — since they took my handgun carry permit without due process and without a good reason — I’m challenging the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States at the end of June said that it’s an individual right to keep and bear arms, and the Tennessee law is in violation of that because it prohibits handguns and they criminalize it.”

Embody, 38, is also challenging a section of state law that the Department of Safety cited as a reason to suspend Embody’s handgun carry permit, stating that he “poses a material likelihood of risk to the public” based on information provided by the Belle Meade Police Department.

Belle Meade officers stopped Embody in January as he walked along Belle Meade Boulevard while carrying an AK-47 pistol. Authorities also stopped him in December at Radnor Lake State Park.

Embody said the law providing a “material likelihood of risk to the public” as means for suspending a permit is unconstitutionally vague, saying that a judge would normally determine if the permit of someone facing criminal charges should be suspended pending the trial. Someone acquitted of a felony, for instance, could have a permit reinstated following the trial, he said.

But for someone such as Embody, who hasn’t been arrested, reinstatement is vague, he said.

“In cases like this,” Embody said, “where the Department of Safety says they can suspend my handgun carry permit based upon a ‘material likelihood of risk of harm to the public’ the statute says nothing about when I’m supposed to get that permit reinstated.”

Embody, who lives in Brentwood and has held a carry permit since 2001, first filed suit against the state Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Safety on May 25 in Williamson County, but it was transferred to Davidson County last week after the Attorney General’s Office argued in court filings that Davidson County was the proper venue for suits against the state.

The Department of Safety suspended Embody’s handgun carry permit on March 10, and he subsequently requested a hearing be held regarding the suspension. That was previously set for Aug. 6 according to the Department of Safety but was deferred to Dece. 3 based on Embody’s request.

Of his past run-ins with police, Embody said he wasn’t trying to provoke them — “everywhere I go I carry open, for the most part.”

He later added, “In several cases now, they appear to either not know the laws or they don’t like people to open carry a handgun — and they violate their civil rights.”

Now following the McDonald ruling and the suspension of his permit, Embody said he has the standing to challenge state law.

“My ultimate goal is to change the law in Tennessee now that I have standing to challenge this in court,” Embody said, adding that the Department of Safety gave him that standing by taking away his permit.

80 Comments on this post:

By: on 8/2/10 at 7:54

This man is not a danger to society. The politicians and gov't officials who want to deny him his Constitutional right(s) are the danger to our society.

By: heathersuze on 8/2/10 at 8:23

This guy carries an AK-47 around in the park to scare people. I'm really okay with the Department of Safety taking away his handgun permit. I would rather this nutjob not have a gun.

By: kwikrnu on 8/3/10 at 3:41

I carry a handgun for the purpose of self-defense. The Department of Safety had no controlling legal authority to suspend my handgun carry permit. As much as you and anyone else wants to deny you can't prohibit the exercise of a civil liberty. This will be judged under strict scrutiny and I will win.

By: dargent7 on 8/3/10 at 5:19

This sould be an easy one for the state to defend.
Have him evaluated by a team of psychiatrists who will find him mentally unstable, therefore, exempt from owning/ carring a weapon.
His lawsuit will backfire, he will be incarcerated in a mental institution.
There, he can talk to fellow inmates about how his Second Amendment rights were violated.

By: dan3843 on 8/3/10 at 6:21

First, what is an AK-47 pistol? Thought an AK47 was a rifle.
Second, to find someone "mentally unstable" and then incarcerate them because they're trying to prove a point...sounds like Kafka's writing.

By: bfra on 8/3/10 at 6:32

dan - Where would you suggest they put mentally unstable people? In public with an AK47?

By: xhexx on 8/3/10 at 6:49

This paper's reporting of the facts is on par with the Tennessean's. In the Belle Meade incident, it was widely reported that he was carrying a black powder revolver of the type used in the Civil War, to comply with the Belle Meade regulations regarding an "Army or Navy" pistol..

Kwikrnu, I don't agree with your methods, and was pretty pissed at you for getting Costco posted, though I would have cancelled my membership anyway now in light of the Las Vegas Costco shooting, but I wish you luck in this case. I hope that this time the "vagueness" argument can be used for good..

By: Cookie47 on 8/3/10 at 6:58


I take it from your post, you are Embody. You seem to know the law and I support your right to carry as I do myself. What I do question is your choice of weapons. I know an AK-47 pistol is essentially the rifle just minus the butt stock.

Why that choice of weapon?

Why not something smaller like a .45 semi-auto?

Lastly, why did you paint the muzzle orange before your trip into Radnor?


By: kwikrnu on 8/3/10 at 7:32

I didn't get Costco posted in Nashville.

I have several handguns. I like my ak type pistol. Its custom paint is unique. I have a purple HELLO KITTY kel-tec plr-16 handgun too! I have a puma bounty hunter pistol like the one woody harrelson used in zombieland, it's also a handgun under TN state law. In Tennessee I'm not required to give notice of the handgun I intend to carry on any given day.

By: bccoolj on 8/3/10 at 7:44

I see Mr. Embody is 'kwikrnu' on this post. Dude, no one here questions your right to keep and bear arms. But your belief in toting an orange-painted, modified AK-47 into a state park in the middle of the day for everyone to see is ridiculous. I believe anyone with half a brain realizes what you're doing. You're testing the law!! And for what? Attention. Congratulations, you got your '15 minutes of fame.'

Anyone who wants to arm themselves for protection will not parade the firearm (especially a modified AK-47, painted orange) for everyone to see. That's not the the intent of the handgun carry permit law, much less the 2nd Amendment. I don't care how well you think you know the law, a modified assault rifle is NOT a handgun.

Of course, your also walked down Belle Meade Blvd with a cap-and-ball revolver in plain site, which is just as dumb too, unless you're reenacting a historical event. It's all for the attention.

Anyone out looking for trouble will eventually find it (and you did--good luck in court fool!)

By: drewjohn on 8/3/10 at 8:00

although i don't really agree cuz there are some many crazy people out there. "the law is the law" if the law say you can carry at AK-47 pistol than that is the LAW. you poster or the police can't go changing the law on the spot cuz it doesn't fit your needs. you have to change it in court.

By: Cookie47 on 8/3/10 at 8:17


I understand and FULLY support you or I neither one having to report the guns we intend to carry. I do question your judgment to carry open (even though it's allowed by law) and your choice of weapons around a bunch of soccer moms and old people out for a stroll in the state park. It's just my opinion but your actions were "TOO IN YOUR FACE."

Scaring people is not the way to gain attention for your cause and your actions only serve to paint ALL HCP holders in a bad light. AGAIN, just my opinion.


By: kwikrnu on 8/3/10 at 8:35

I have no intention to scare or intimidate anyone. I carry for the purpose of self-defense. If someone is hoplophobic it isn't my problem.

By: EquinsuOcha on 8/3/10 at 8:38

The AK-47 pistol is NOT a modfied AK-47 rifle......It comes from the factory as a pistol and meets all the ATF requirements to be classified a pistol.......As a firearms dealer I have sold a few........They are actually a cool little weapon.......

By: Cookie47 on 8/3/10 at 8:41


It may not have been your intention but it was the result.

Why did you do all this? Was it for attention or did you have an actual point to make?


By: tomw on 8/3/10 at 8:55

in following this situation, it has seemed that you were out for attention to your cause as you advertised that you would be in these places with weapons. your use of the self defense motive is suspect.

By: kwikrnu on 8/3/10 at 9:24

I often walk at Radnor Lake and in Belle Meade.
My point is the State has broken the law and is violating my civil rights.

By: Cookie47 on 8/3/10 at 9:51


I fully support your right to carry what you want to carry. I just think your choice of weapon showed bad judgment.

If I were to open carry my Springfield XD9 at Radnor, I would expect to be looked at funny by some and fearful by others. I would also expect to be approached by a Ranger and/or LEO and questioned. I choose to carry concealed so NOT to draw attention to myself or my family.

If you get your HCP back, perhaps you should do the same. I wish you luck.


By: Kosh III on 8/3/10 at 10:01

What exactly were you defending yourself from at Radnor? Killer beavers? Rabid soccer moms?

If you wanted to go strutting along a city street, why Belle Meade? Why not Jo Johnston at 1am? No vicious rabbits there.

By: kwikrnu on 8/3/10 at 10:09

I live in between Belle Meade and Oak Hill.
I was questioned by a ranger, showed him my permit and 20-30 minutes later I was assaulted by another ranger, searched and cuffed and held 2.5 hours. They had no PC or RAS that I had committed any crime.
I'll carry any legal handgun I want. You can find the definitions in tca 39-11-106 and 39-17-1301.

By: Cookie47 on 8/3/10 at 10:32

It's not about definitions, kwikrnu!!! Sometimes it's about just good common sense. You made yourself look like a nut case and now you're mad at the very people that are charged with protecting us from nut cases. You may not be one but you sure as hell presented yourself as one.

Now, what was the point you were trying to make by doing all this? What was it at Radnor? That it's easy to scare the hell out of old people and soccer moms while carrying a big scary pistol? What was it in Belle Meade? That they have laws still on the books from the Civil War period?

Since you've made all HCP holders look bad, as one, I would really like to know what your point was to all this.


By: kwikrnu on 8/3/10 at 10:47

I don't believe legal carry of a handgun makes one a nut case. If the governemnt thinks I'm a nut case the simple solution would b to have me involuntarily committed. lol
I carry within legal limits for the purpose of self-defense. Unfortunately some police and government officials do not like it. Now I have to spend time and money suing to protect my rights.

By: Cookie47 on 8/3/10 at 11:07

I don't believe legal carry of a handgun makes one a nut case either. I carry as well. I have no doubt you carry within the legal limits of the law BUT by carrying your AK-47 pistol around people that probably know nothing about HCP laws, you scare them. Was it worth it?

Again, what was your point to all this?


By: kwikrnu on 8/3/10 at 11:31

There is no point. I carry for self-defense.

By: dargent7 on 8/3/10 at 11:48

Listen: Numb-Nuts: You want to walk around parks and city streets with an open carry.....trying to prove your "manhood", fine. Next time, do it around Vanderbilt College.
Those cops on campus are serious about their job and will take you down, take you to jail, or take your ass to see Jesus.
All three if it was up to me.

By: NewsReader01 on 8/3/10 at 12:07

I agree with your gun rights, but an orange painted ak-47 pistol.... seriously all you were doing is trying to bring attention on yourself. You got it, and i bet anything probably acted like a total idiot to the ranger who questioned you. If i was a ranger and saw someone openly carrying a ridiculous weapon id question them too. Like i said though. I bet this is all the result of you acting like a complete and total idiotic maniac to the ranger when questioned. Since he "offended" you by asking questions for the safety of the general public.

By: drewjohn on 8/3/10 at 12:17

dargent7 your dumb!

if you people don't like the laws lobby to get them changed. Obviously there are some that don't like "open carry" law. so you want to hate on someone that is within his right. why don't you talk to your law makers??? If kwikrnu is within the means of the current law than he's done nothing wrong to this point.

By: drewjohn on 8/3/10 at 12:21

btw dargent7 i believe it would be illegal to carry a gun on campus. seeing as no laws have been broken yet i doubt that would be the case this time.

By: Cookie47 on 8/3/10 at 12:25


I carry for self-defense as well. I carry a Springfield XD 9mm. It's in a holster on my waist with my shirt over it. The less it's noticed the better. I'm armed but not scaring anyone.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why someone would carry a AK-47 pistol strapped across their back in public unless they just wanted a hell of a lot attention drawn to themselves. I carry and I would've called the cops on you. I would have gotten my family away from you.

This is NOT the impression the HCP community as a whole needs to make to the general public. As I've stated before, I support OUR right to keep, carry, and bear arms. In doing so, I think a large portion of common sense needs to be used as well. You would do well to use a lot more than you obviously used during your stunts.


By: NewsReader01 on 8/3/10 at 12:31

I agree with you drewjohn. He has done nothing illegal. But society tells us to be scared of guns and people who don't carry/shoot firearms are generally terrified of them. The other day my sister pointed out a guy openly carrying and seemed bothered by it, I told her those aren't the people to worry about. I'm a new HCP owner and still get a little tingle when i see a gun on someone, just how were programmed. Unfortunately most people are absolutely terrified of them and will complain to a person of authority about it. Store owners etc. would rather tell the occasional HCP owner to stay out than 95% of their regular customers who wouldn't come in the store knowing someone had a gun in it.

By: NewsReader01 on 8/3/10 at 12:34

I agree with Cookie47. I carry a Ruger LCP in my pocket. It will never be noticed by anyone ever. It will get the same job done as the AK with a whole lot less hassle. It's just common sense about social acceptance.

By: kwikrnu on 8/3/10 at 12:40

I have audio of the encouters with the rangers and belle meade police to include 911 calls and police dispatch on youtube. It's all under kwikrnu

By: Walter Sobchak on 8/3/10 at 1:26

It's ones legal right to drive 40 mph in the passing lane on the interstate as well. BUT it's damned stupid to do so.

My point is that just because you have a right to do something doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it. and I agree with Kosh, what are you defending yourself from at Radnor Lake? Belle Meade Blvd? You're either ultra-paranoid or just out to garner attention. You already succeeded in getting your azz whooped and detained for 2.5 hours. See where your stupidity has already gotten you?

It's simply childish what you're doing.

By: drewjohn on 8/3/10 at 1:34

don't get me wrong if i saw that sh** i would definitely run and call the cops. just saying it's what the law says for now.

By: drewjohn on 8/3/10 at 1:36

hey he didn't get mugged on bellemead blvd or Rador lake. so how can you say it's not for protection. i say it worked as designed.

By: Walter Sobchak on 8/3/10 at 2:04

No he didn't get mugged. He just got beaten up, got detained for hours and got his carry permit revoked.

It's just Stupid

By: producer2 on 8/3/10 at 2:23

You have a Second Amendment Right to bear arms. I believe the government has the right to tell you which of those arms you can bear in public. Keep wielding that AK-47 for show and the list is going to get smaller. I for one would like to see you continue your irresponsible campaign.

By: shef2 on 8/4/10 at 12:10

There ARE people who should NOT be able to carry guns-! He's one of them-!

By: xhexx on 8/4/10 at 6:06

Kwik, are you denying you got into a "discussion" with the manager of Costco over your open carrying in there? I read your rants about it. Someone on TGO was friends with the manager, and was told by him they were going to post based on that incident. A couple of weeks later, the corporate "No firearms on the premises " sign went up. So yeah, I would say you were responsible. They hadn't been posted for years until your "discussion" with him.

By: on 8/4/10 at 6:32

This guys a fruitcake. If I were a gun toter I would be very pi$$ed off. Looks like the gun list needs to get much shorter, like maybe only carrying full size shotguns. You could all look like Jeramiah Johnson. If I were on the Grand Jury I'd indict him and let him spend some more of his large disposal income for his defense.

By: Jagman on 8/4/10 at 6:57

This person appears to be a nut case. Show and tell went out with grade school. I support the right to carry a weapon and I have a carry permit. I don't need to carry such a weapon to protect myself. After all is said and done, this person doesn't need to a a carry permit.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/4/10 at 7:42

kwikrnu, you make all carry permit folks look bad. kind of shot yourself in the foot, so to say, with this ridiculous stunt.

By: sw9ve on 8/4/10 at 8:00

What I see here are several people claiming that Leonard should lose his permit because he scared a few people, not because of a violation of the law.

This is the problem with our country right now - people reacting emotionally instead of logically. You can bet the people who founded this country intended for us to have the means to protect ourselves and our families from aggressors (that can be a violent criminal or an out of control government). That's why the Second Amendment exists.

I don't carry openly because I don't want the attention it brings. In fact, I don't advertise the fact that I carry. But I would really like for someone to point out to me the specific law(s) that Leonard violated. Did he push it? Yes. Did he break the law? Not that I can see. Is he nuts? I have seen nothing to indicate that he is.

By: kwikrnu on 8/4/10 at 8:02

I've never had a discussion about any gun I;ve carried or guns in general with any costco employee.
It is illegal to prohibit the right to carry a handgun.

By: producer2 on 8/4/10 at 8:15

Not on private property it's not my friend.

You are correct, we do live in a society that acts upon emotion, but in this case it is also acting on logic. What logical need is there to brandish an AK-47 pistol in a sedate setting like Radnor Lake?

By: sw9ve on 8/4/10 at 8:28


Are you criticizing the act of carrying a weapon in a park, or criticizing the specific type of weapon being carried?

By: sjgarner on 8/4/10 at 8:57

I've read each comment regarding this topic and I don't think anyone posting here has a problem with the act of carrying a weapon. Producer, neither you, Cookie47, nor another of the other rational, logical people responding to Kwikrnu is going to get a straight, logical, rational response from him. Don't you get it? It is all about him and his right to openingly carry an AK-47 pistol or other grandious weapon in a sedate state park or on quite neighborhood streets so he can get his kicks, daily dose of attention, or whatever. He has NO logical or rational reason for what he did. I don't particularly think he is a nut job, just a narcissistic Rambo wannabe who has managed to give all of us who have HCPs and are law-abiding, logical, rational people with good judgment a bad name.


By: Cookie47 on 8/4/10 at 9:03


I have only questioned kwikrnu's judgment on his weapon choice. It appears as though he did all he did for attention. I know the pistol he chose is within the law but was it within good judgment. In my opinion, no.

I carry as well and do so concealed. I don't see any law he's broken either but he managed to make himself look more than a little nuts.

I've asked him what his point was to doing what he did and have yet to get an answer other than "There is no point. I carry for self-defense." If that's all he's got, it must have been for nothing but attention. In the process, he's made all HCP holders look bad and, as one, I don't appreciate it.


By: producer2 on 8/4/10 at 9:07

Actually I am questioning the need to carry out in the open with any weapon in that particular setting. I did not say it was illegal, just not necessary unless you are looking for confrontation.

By: sjgarner on 8/4/10 at 9:15

Cookie47, both you and producer2 have "hit the bullseye" (pun intended). Should the topic ever arise, and I know of no reason why it should, I would hesistate to reveal that I have a HCP. Because of people like kickrnu, Folks may now think I am publicity-seeking, pistol-packing momma! Producer, I personally think he was seeking a confrontation. Otherwise, why do it?