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Child welfare officials raid NJ home over photo of boy with gun

By Brett Wilkins     Mar 20, 2013 in Politics
A child welfare official accompanied by numerous police officers in tactical gear conducted a warrantless raid on a New Jersey home after a father posted a Facebook photo of his son safely holding a .22 caliber rifle fitted to resemble an assault weapon.
The New York Daily News reports that an official from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) showed up at the Carneys Point home of Shawn Moore and his family last Friday accompanied by police. The DCF worker, who Moore claims refused to identify herself, did not have a warrant but demanded entry into the home and, according to Moore, pushed her way in.
The incident occurred due to a photo of his 10-year-old son Josh holding a gun that Moore had posted on Facebook earlier in the day. Although the weapon in the photo appears to be a military-style assault rifle, it is really a .22 caliber rimfire rifle fitted to look like a more powerful weapon. The gun was a present for the boy's upcoming 11th birthday, Moore said. The DCF official demanded that Moore open his gun safe. He objected; New Jersey law does not require firearms owners to register their weapons with the state. Moore claims the DCF official was "threatening to take my kids."
"They (DCF) never even saw the picture," an angry Moore wrote on Delaware Open Carry. "It was all hearsay. Just a phone call saying someone saw a pic of a child holding a gun."
Moore stood his ground in the face of what he believed was government overreach and a violation of his constitutional rights. He wrote:
They wanted to look around and check all my guns out, make sure they were all registered. Obviously that didn't go well because I refused... They kept trying to pressure me to open my safe. They had no warrant, no charges, nothing. I didn't budge. I was told I was being "unreasonable" and that I was acting suspicious because I wouldn't open my safe. [They] told me they were gonna get a search warrant. Told 'em go ahead... They left, empty-handed and seeing nothing.
Besides the apparent violation of his civil liberties, Moore seethes at state officials assuming his son was in an unsafe situation with the gun. Moore is an NRA-certified firearms safety instructor and state-certified hunting instructor and despite his young age, Josh is a state-certified hunter.
"Anyone who knows firearms safety immediately recognizes that this boy is trained because his finger is not on the trigger," family attorney Evan Nappen, who was on the phone with Moore and the police as Friday's incident unfolded, told the Daily News.
Regarding the weapon's appearance, Nappen said, "Just because it has a sexy look to it, does not make [the gun] an assault firearm."
"We have a cultural issue with guns at the moment that changes something that would have been an innocent picture and turns it into an alarming event that requires a nighttime raid," Nappen added. "That's a problem."
"He [Moore] has a Fourth Amendment right and he's not going to give up his Fourth Amendment right or his Second Amendment right," Nappen told Fox News radio. "They didn't have a warrant, so see you later."
DCF spokeswomen Kristen Brown told Fox News radio that she could not confirm nor deny that the raid at the Moore residence had taken place.
"The Department has a child abuse hotline for the state of New Jersey and anybody can make a call to that hotline," Brown said. "We are required to follow up on every single allegation that comes into the central registry."
More about shawn moore, josh moore, nj department of children and families, Gun rights, Second amendment
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