Shawn Moore is a certified firearms instructor for the National Rifle Association and a New Jersey hunter education instructor. He was proud of his son for recently passing his hunter’s permit course and posted this picture of his boy in camouflage holding his .22 rifle. A Facebook “friend” saw the picture and reported him to the New Jersey police and Dept. of Children and Families for child endangerment. Moore says that his home was raided, searched, and he was threatened with the loss of custody in response to the complaint.
While not commenting on the alleged raid, Department Spokesperson Kristen Brown said. “We are required to follow up on every single allegation that comes into the central registry.” That is a bit surprising if the allegation describes lawful conduct. Children are allowed to hunt in New Jersey. I had assumed that there was some screening that occurs. Moreover, I am not sure why there is no intermediate step short of the search of the home.
Moore says that he received an text message from his wife that the Carneys Point Police Dept. and the New Jersey Dept. of Children and Families were at the home demanding to see his guns and gun safe. The officers were told by his lawyer to leave the home absent a warrant. He says that that officers responded that the demand for them to get a warrant was “suspicious” behavior. If true, that would be highly abusive and unconstitutional. A citizen invoking their rights does not create reasonable suspicion, let alone probable cause. While the officers said that they would get a warrant, he says that they never returned.
It does strike me as odd that anyone can trigger such an action based on a photo that does not show any illegal action or conduct that is demonstrably dangerous in a state where children are allowed to hunt and shoot such weapons.
What do you think?