NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Appeals Court has ruled against a Brentwood man who claimed state law regulating the carrying of firearms was unconstitutional.
Leonard Embody filed a lawsuit in 2010 after state officials took away his carry permit, finding a “material likelihood of risk of harm to the public.”
The revocation came after Embody was detained by Belle Meade police in 2010 while walking with a .44-caliber black powder revolver in his hand. He was detained in 2009 while walking in Radnor Lake State Park with an AK-47-style pistol. He also has been stopped in at least three similar incidents, although he was never charged with a crime.
Embody, who represented himself, claimed in court that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives him a right to carry firearms.
According to the court, “The crux of Embody’s argument is that, as a law-abiding citizen, the legislature may not constitutionally bar him from carrying loaded firearms in public.”
Ruling on Wednesday from Nashville, a three-member panel of the Tennessee Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that the right to bear arms is not without limits.
The court said recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have found that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for the protection of hearth and home. However, when a person is in a public place, he or she must submit to public regulations, the Appeals Court stated.
“Longstanding Tennessee law is such that the legislature may regulate the carry of firearms with an intent to prevent crime,” the court found. “Embody makes much of his law-abiding status, but this is not the point. A view to prevent crime could entail regulations that must be adhered to by people without criminal backgrounds.”
Embody, who is a licensed federal firearms dealer, wrote in an email to The Associated Press, “It is pretty ridiculous that I can sell machine guns, but that I can’t carry a gun.”
He said he likely would not appeal the ruling. Embody said he has valid carry permits in other states and is considering moving outside of Tennessee so that he could legally carry in Tennessee through reciprocity agreements.