Thursday, February 11, 2010

Law Suit Over Firearms Carry in Tennessee State Park

I found this article of interest since February 22 is the date that possession of firearms becomes much more liberalized in our National Parks.

By Clay Carey • THE TENNESSEAN • February 10, 2010

A Middle Tennessee man has sued a Nashville park ranger, alleging the officer was unfairly harsh when he saw the man carrying a large handgun in a park.

Leonard Embody says he was within his rights to carry an AK-47 handgun at Radnor Lake Park on Dec. 20. He has a permit to carry the weapon, according to the federal lawsuit.
Embody says that park manager Steve Ward pointed a shotgun at him and handcuffed him as Embody was walking through the park. In his lawsuit, Embody says he was detained by police for more than three hours in all, longer than police should have needed to determine whether he was committing a crime.
Last year, state legislators passed a law that made it legal for permit holders to carry guns in Tennessee parks.
Ward did not return a message left at the park Tuesday afternoon. Meg Lockhart, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environment and Conservation, would not comment directly on the lawsuit.
In a statement, the department said it was "dismayed that someone would carry a weapon into a state park seemingly with the intent of testing authorities and the boundaries of the new gun law, while alarming others who want to enjoy the park."
Embody, 37, who lives in Brentwood, could not be reached Tuesday. His attorney did not return a call for comment.
Before his encounter with Ward, Embody says in his lawsuit, a park ranger saw him with the gun, asked him about it and let him continue on his way. The lawsuit says Ward confiscated his gun after ordering him to the ground.
Metro police arrived a few minutes later and told Ward that Embody wasn't breaking the law, but he says in his suit Ward held him for an hour longer. He says he was given his gun and ammunition back and released after he protested an arrest citation officers tried to get him to sign.
Metro police said Embody was never arrested or cited.
Photo of Firearm Carried by Embody

This same individual had been stopped several other times by other agencies for carrying weapons in public. In each case he was carrying an unusual firearm that drew peoples attention. One theory is that he is doing this to test law enforcement officers in enforcement of new laws. Hopefully situations such as these will not occur after February 22 in our National Parks.


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