Facebook Photo Of Child Holding Rifle Leads To Alleged Late Night Raid On New Jersey Home

jerseygun2-225x300Shawn 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?

Source: Yahoo

171 thoughts on “Facebook Photo Of Child Holding Rifle Leads To Alleged Late Night Raid On New Jersey Home”

  1. ARE – Second person that showed me this was a defense lawyer.

    The first? You got it, a former cop and judge.

    And yes, I know; barring exigent circumstances, someone who opens the door wide to speak with cops and gives them a “plain view” exception,” or a dumb-ass client who says, “Sure, c’mon in, I’ve got nothing to hide,” the Fourth applies.

    1. Jshamus
      While I DO like the doormat, I don’t like it $34 worth.

  2. Elaine – Not when the report is (1) Anonymous, (2) Unsubstantiated, (3) Uncorroborated. I see nothing where there was anything beyond what I’ve listed. This issue is a boy and a gun. He seemed pretty darn happy, the firearm was safely handled. There were no allegations of physical or sexual abuse. This was just another incursion by the “nanny-state” to intrude on the privacy of the family. No laws were broken.

    If I read OS correctly, in a child welfare case, there’s only one way to do it right, and many ways to do it wrong. I think this CPS worker did pretty well with the latter.

    Maybe we need to promote the sales of these:



    1. jshamus While I appreciate those, I hope you DO realize that cops do NOT always need a warrant to enter your home. I think that one of those mats MIGHT give a cop pause before they charge in and think about their probable cause before they kick the door in.

  3. OS,
    If you have the picture of the B-24, (without your daughter in it) I would love to see it. My dad flew B-24’s in WWII.

  4. Elaine,
    if the report of abuse is credible, they do have a duty to report. I know the teachers are required by law to “report” concerns that they have. I am sure that there are times when the report or tip or facial evidence is not accurate, but I agree that child welfare workers would be fired if they just took the parents response as gospel.

  5. Otteray,

    You don’t think some parents lie? Now, I’m not suggesting that these parents lied. I don’t want people of accusing me of things.

    Aren’t child welfare workers required to check on a child when a report of abuse or neglect has been made to make sure the child is okay?

  6. Elaine,
    Short answer is No. The explanation by a parent should have been sufficient, given the obvious fact the whole thing was innocent and blown out of proportion.

    Speaking professionally, it is a bad idea to interview/interrogate a kid except under controlled conditions and then only by an expert. I have lost track of how many cases I have worked on where some social worker, therapist or interviewer completely screwed up an investigation by asking a kid leading questions, thus contaminating the child’s memory. Dr. Anne Graffam Walker has written books and articles about the problems of interviewing children. As Dr. Walker points out, it is really easy to FUBAR a case involving children.

    All too often, children’s legal rights are completely ignored. When the family lawyer intervened via telephone, the police allegedly said that was “suspicious.” Baloney. Its the law, until the 5th Amendment is repealed. As a professional educator, I know you keep up with what goes on in schools regarding police being called. Have you been following the case of the mentally handicapped autistic kid who was arrested in a sting? Here is the latest in the saga. The writer is the mother of the autistic kid. She provides links at the end of her narrative. Those links are a timeline to the story from the beginning. If this does not raise the average parent’s blood pressure, nothing will.


  7. Otteray,

    “I can see logically where the police might feel they have a responsibility to at least check on a tip, especially multiple tips, given recent school shootings, to make sure there was not more to the story. However, once the situation is explained by the parent at the front door, the story should have ended there.”

    You don’t think that the police or CPS worker should have asked to speak to the child?

  8. Gene & Tony,
    I read that as “identity,” meaning “a way to identify” rather than name. If one wished to file a complaint or lawsuit, you need some way to identify one person out of many. Every agency has some sort of way to identify staffers without revealing names. The IRS uses registered pseudonyms as “names” for their agents. Employee numbers or badge numbers are another. Government agents acting in their official capacity, but deliberately concealing a way to identify themselves, has bothered me since the days of the Vietnam war and civil rights protests.

    Even to this day, we see photos and videos of Police officers STILL putting black electrician’s tape over their badge numbers before engaging in activities that violate the first half dozen Amendments to the Constitution.

  9. ARE,
    I have a photo of my (then teenage) daughter with the M-2, the old “Ma Deuce” in the nose bubble of the CAF’s B-24. Sure glad I didn’t post it online.

    1. OS
      I don’t think posting it on this site would be wise either! LOL!

  10. Michael Val,
    I can see logically where the police might feel they have a responsibility to at least check on a tip, especially multiple tips, given recent school shootings, to make sure there was not more to the story. However, once the situation is explained by the parent at the front door, the story should have ended there. Mom could have shown the officers the photo posted online (or give them the URL) which was the obvious source of the complaints, and that should have satisfied them. I have an idea every one the responding officers who have kids are teaching them to shoot safely. Some may even have their own kids posting similar stuff on social media.

    One of the biggest problems, it seems to me, is all the nosy Nellies who not only meddle in other people’s business, but actually create trouble and conflict where none is present before the meddling. Here is another case of adults meddling where none was wanted or needed. Take a look at the story at the link:


  11. My previous post should have referenced dkenner. As for Tony C, the child welfare worker has to testify in court accoding to our Constitution if any charges were filed by the way. Too bad you forget about that part of it. So yes until I know differently in state law, I DO think her refusal to give her name is wrong and possibly even illegal.

  12. “A badge number, employee number or case number would be appropriate if the person wishes to make a legitimate complaint,”

    That’s revealing their identity, Tony. Note the word choice. I said “identity”, not “name”.

  13. Gene: However, the CPS staffer refusing her identity? Still totally unacceptable. It may be legal, but it sure as Hell isn’t right.

    Is that your comment? Whoever said it, I disagree.

    I think revealing one’s name to a potentially violent parent that might be going to jail is a little more than a CPS staffer has signed up for. A badge number, employee number or case number would be appropriate if the person wishes to make a legitimate complaint, a name (with a phone book or casual Internet public records search) can reveal an address and endanger the CPS staffer and their family. All the suspect legitimately needs is a way to identify the staffer, to complain or if he ends up in court.

  14. “In a statement, Carney Point Police Chief Robert DiGregorio and Mayor Richard Gatanis said officers went to the family’s home at about 8:15 p.m. Friday after getting anonymous tips that a boy there might have access to weapons and ammunition.”

    I don’t expect every John Q Public to know the law. But, you’d expect the police to have at least some passing familiarity with it. My understanding is that it’s not illegal for the boy to have access to weapons and ammunition, So, why are the police wasting time and resources on something that’s legal?

    1. Michael Val from what I have seen the cops were called by the CPS worker, and they had to go as back up. I have no idea if they knew exactly what the alleged abuse was, but they had no choice in the matter. So I cannot fault the cops since they did their job correctly. Any fault lies with the CPS worker and the anti-gun nuts who think that a kid holding a “scary” looking GUN is dangerous and illegal. I guess they would call the cops if the guy had put a picture of his kid in the cockpit of an F-16 at an airshow too. THAT can do a LOT more damage than a rifle.

  15. Randyjet said, “ALL parties except the Child Welfare worker acted correctly.”

    Very funny. Do us all a favor? NEVER run for public office.

    1. Please do me and other law abiding gun owners and citizens a big favor and make us safer, and get rid any guns you own. Maybe you could tell all of us what law the police violated when they made the call on the house. The CPS worker as one other person here pointed out should have taken care of this complaint at the office, and not done anything or made a simple phone call. The CPS worker is the one who called the police for backup in the visit. They were well within their rights to ASK to see the guys guns. The guy was also well within his rights to refuse. Had the cops threatened to arrest him or find some bogus excuse to compel him, THEN they would have been in violation.

      I would hate for any poor cop who has to have any interaction with you to have you be armed. While I have been abused and had many of my rights violated by police and other agencies. I don’t take ALL cops or investigations as being wrong or unlawful. For good or ill, any society needs police. The problem is to keep them within bounds of law. Absent any law violation, the cops acted correctly.

  16. Frankly said, “Seems like there must be more to this story somewhere.”

    Really? Because the coverage I saw had quite a bit of information, all of which indicates the cops were wrong. Perhaps you’re looking for something to vindicate the armed psychopaths that invaded this man’s home? Good luck with that.

  17. Funny thing about this is that HuffingPost ran it and forgot to mention that the guy was an instructor (not that it truly matters – but it could make some people feel better). And the comments I saw there are ridiculous, people really think it’s illegal to let kids handle guns.

    Have they even heard of Boy Scout camps? Rifle shooting merit badges?

  18. Mac: No, thank you for proving my claim. Of course nobody except me said “jackbooted thugs,” because that was my exaggeration of what was being said. But I understand, those of limited intelligence do rely heavily on literalness, so they search for the literal phrase and then crow with a second-grader’s bravado that the literal phrase never appeared. Instead of actually thinking, like an adult, that another adult (me) reading the false claims of incivility and low intelligence might characterize them with exaggerations of my own for the effect.

    Mac: because it’s interest, like all governments agencies, is at it’s core about one thing……EXPANDING IT’S BUDGET

    That holds no water either, and is more proof of foolishly shallow thinking. What would be the point of expanding its budget? The CPS workers are civil servants, top to bottom, with very closely defined salaries and benefits based upon seniority and rank, “expanding their budget” would not get them a raise, or new offices. In my niece’s organization, where she has been working for almost eight years, their budget and salaries have not kept up with inflation for any year.

    An “expanded budget” might buy some new computers, or a working copying machine, or an office chair that hasn’t been repaired five times with duct tape, but do you really think CPS officers are so sub-human they would separate a child from their parent to get a new sixty dollar office chair? You are making the presumption that these people are alien beings fundamentally different from you, and that is more shallow thinking.

    My point is that if CPS is being aggressive, their motivation is not “expanding their budget,” it is something else.

    I have already speculated on what that might be: Like many LEOs, a steady diet of viewing the worst that humanity has to offer erodes away their willingness to give anybody the benefit of the doubt, and a steady diet of watching people they believe should be punished go unpunished, and thereby continue to harm the children in their charge, makes them more aggressive and willing to cut more corners to prevent that outcome.

    To my knowledge CPS investigators are not highly paid, they do not have cushy offices, and they deal with some breathtakingly bad parents, step parents, and other adults interacting with children. According to my niece, most newbies only last a few years before they take their degree and move on to something less physically dangerous than confronting abusive parents, and less emotionally harrowing and draining than repeated encounters with beaten and raped children, or children taught to steal or deal drugs.

    The ones that stay grow a thick skin, and learn to suspect that everything a reported parent says might well be a lie to protect themselves. The nature of the experiences they have on the job can lead to bad apples that far overstep their authority and err on the side of a presumption of guilt, but the motivation for that is not selfish gain or an expanded budget.

    Thinking that is hardly thinking at all. It is not true for CPS, it is not true for “all government agencies.” You are just parroting the bird-brained line of all shallow thinking conservatives that all government is inherently bad.

  19. shamus,
    I know where he is, including street address and phone number. I was just wondering if he was still working. I checked his corporation status and find it was dissolved in 2011. He is about 70 now, so I imagine he is retired. I know he did well for himself, he was a workaholic and there was never any lack of business. Certainly not as long as zealots at DCS were running loose. He earned his retirement. I just lost touch with him over the past several years.

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