Gun agitator loses fight over detention after displaying AK-47 "pistol" in State Park
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote an outstanding opinion in Leonard S. Embody v. Steve Ward, upholding the dismissal of Embody's civil rights claim. Embody, according to the Court, accomplished several things both likely and unlikely. Dressed in camoflage with the "pistol" [it has a barrel under 12"] and a 30-round magazine across his chest, he managed to startle and disconcert any number of Park visitors who feared his intentions. He also managed to get himself detained long enough for Park Rangers to confirm that carrying the gun in the park was legal. On the more surprising side, when he sued the officer who temporarily detained him, he managed to unite both the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Second Amendment Foundation on the side of the Park Ranger.
The Court explained that the Park Ranger had a legitimate concern with regard to whether an AK-47 could reasonably fit the state's definition of a "handgun" and therefore stopping Embody long enough to investigate was not unreasonable. Further, Embody wasn't arrested, and the length of his detention was extended by his demand that a police supervisor be summoned to the scene. The Court noted that having worked hard to appear suspicious and dangerous, Embody should not be heard to complain when bystanders and public safety officers took his appearance at face value.