PARENTS

Dad Defends Facebook Photo Of 10-Year-Old Son Posing With Semi-Automatic Rifle

14/08/2014 16:48 | Updated 22 May 2015
Dad's Facebook photo of 10-year-old son posing with hunting rifle provokes child abuse tip-off

A father is being investigated after he posted a photo of his camouflage-clad 10-year-old son holding a rifle on Facebook.

Josh Moore got the semi-automatic Smith & Wesson .22 rifle as a present for his upcoming 11th birthday after he passed a state firearms safety test and became certified to go hunting.

But shortly after the picture was posted by his dad Shawn, the family received a visit from New Jersey's Department of Youth and Family Services following a tip-off to a child abuse hotline.

Now the dad's lawyers say Shawn Moore's Second Amendment rights to bear arms have been threatened by their demand to see his firearms and take the boy away if he didn't comply.

"They said they wanted to see into my safe and see if my guns were registered," Shawn, from Carneys Point, New Jersey, said.

"I said no; in New Jersey, your guns don't have to be registered with the state; it's voluntary. I knew once I opened that safe, there was no going back."

With the lawyer listening in on the phone, Moore said he asked the investigators and police officers whether they had a warrant to search his home. When they said no, he asked them to leave.

The agents and the police officers left, and nothing has happened since.

"I don't like what happened," said Shawn. "You're not even safe in your own house. If they can just show up at any time and make you open safes and go through your house, that's not freedom; it's like tyranny."

State child welfare spokeswoman Kristine Brown said that when it receives a report of suspected abuse or neglect, it assigns a caseworker to follow up.

She said law enforcement officers are asked to accompany caseworkers only if the caseworkers feel their safety could be compromised.

"It's the caseworker's call," she said. "It is important to note the way an investigation begins is through the child abuse hotline. Someone has to call to let us know there is a concern."

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