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Facebook Photo Prompts Warrantless Search In New Jersey

Shawn Moore, .22 cal gun, hunter's safety course

Shawn Moore's Facebook Gun Photo

Proud New Jersey dad Shawn Moore had no idea sharing a photo on Facebook would result in a visit from Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). The Moore family was shocked when two case workers and four police officers showed up on their doorstep to inspect their home and gun safe.

Moore was not home at the time, but arrived shortly later after receiving a frantic phone call from his wife. Moore’s attorney, Evan Nappen, a renowned Second Amendment litigator, was on speaker with his wife as the New Jersey DYFS workers attempted to enter the home without a warrant.

The Moore family must have been hardened criminals for such a government presence to converge on their property right? Wrong. Not only is Shawn Moore not a criminal, he is state licenses hunting safety instructor, NRA shooting instructor and range safety instructor. Moore’s perceived outlaw status sprang from sharing a photo of his son smiling and holding his .22 rifle online. The young man had just passed his hunter safety course, news the dad wanted to share with family and friends.

The photo of Moore holding a gun so shattered the sensibility of one anonymous Facebook user, the DYFS just had to be called in to investigate. The young man was smiling, clothed, unbruised, and healthy. Apparently, In New Jersey passing along the tradition of hunting to your offspring is reason enough to call in the government workers.

Shawn Moore noted that the four police officers all behaved in a professional and respectful manner. Moore’s experience with at least one female New Jersey DFS worker reflected neither of the above behaviors. According to Moore, the worker refused to even share her name when asked repeatedly. The woman also reportedly stated that she needed to see inside the gun safe to check all the guns and catalog them to make sure they were properly registered. New Jersey does not mandate the registration of rifles, the process is entirely voluntary.

The DFS worker also allegedly threatened to take away the gun owners children during their exchange. When Shawn Moore refused to open his gun safe without a warrant, he was supposedly told that he was being “unreasonable” and behaving in a very suspicious manner. Although the liberal mindset has infused far too many segments of our society, this is still America. Citizens have rights, search and seizure warrants are required when there are not any exigent circumstances.

Neither police or DYFS workers have returned to the Moore residence to try and get a peek inside the gun safe again. During an interview with Fox News, Evan Nappen stated that the family is still considering embarking on legal action over their invasion of privacy.

Shawn Moore had this to say about the New Jersey DYFS intrusion after hearing about the photo of a smiling young man holding a gun:

”I don’t like what happened. 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.”

When working in a rural school district for about a decade, I can recall the frustration of seeing children truly in harm’s way and nothing being done about it by childrens’ services workers. We were told frequently that their hands were tied unless there way proof of physical abuse or neglect. We saw children from unsafe homes returned time and again after attending a short parental workshop. The system has failed so many children who could only dream of a home with enough food, positive attention, and clean clothes to wear. Trying to reconcile such scenarios where governmental agencies did nothing to help, with the New Jersey case where a well-cared for child and his family were traumatized simply because the boy wanted to learn how to hunt – is hard to fathom.

What do you think about what happened to Shawn Moore after the gun-toting photo was posted on Facebook?

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