When American Values Are Child Abuse: The Bureaucratic Harassment Of Shawn Moore And Son
March 21, 2013 by Sam Rolley
Even as 2nd Amendment advocates scored a small victory when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) struck Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) scary-gun ban bill from the legislative push for firearm control, knee-jerk absurdity continues throughout the Nation as a result of government demonization of gun owners.
But what happened to Shawn Moore and his family after he Facebook-posted a picture of his son, Josh, grinning from ear to ear as he proudly displayed the .22 caliber rifle he had just received for his birthday demonstrates a frightening new American reality: Bureaucrats now consider teaching your children firearm safety and respect a form of potential abuse.
Because the photo was of the 11-year-old New Jersey resident holding a .22 caliber replica of an AR-15, an allegedly concerned citizen notified the State’s Department of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). A representative (who refused to give Moore her name) from DYFS followed up on the call, accompanied by police officers in tactical gear. The DYFS representative and police officers demanded to be granted warrantless access to the Moore home and to be allowed to check serial numbers on all of the firearms in Moore’s gun safe “to ensure that they were properly registered.” (New Jersey does not require registration; it is voluntary.)
Moore contacted attorney Evan Nappen, an authority on New Jersey gun laws, and was advised to refuse any unConstitutional warrantless searches of his home. And after threats to take his children and get a warrant and other forms of intimidation, the cadre of agents of the State left empty-handed.
Moore first told his story on an open carry enthusiast forum before a media firestorm erupted:
The fight has officially been brought to my front door
Last night I was out with a buddy of mine. I got a text from my wife that the cops and dyfs are at the house and they wanna check out my guns and needed me to open my safe.
I’m instantly on my way. I get in contact with evan Nappen on the way. I explain the situation. I walk in my house and hand the phone to the first cop I see. Then direct all of em outside. Dyfs got a call because of a pic on my son holding a gun. 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. I had Nappen on speaker phone the entire time so they had to deal with both of us. 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. Told me they were gonna get a search warrant. Told em go ahead. Nappen (my lawyer) asked me for the dyfs workers name. she wouldnt give it. i asked for credentials and she wouldnt show em. i tried to take a pic of her and she turned around real fast and walked away. After a while of them threatening to take my kids, get warrants and intimidation they left. Empty handed and seeing nothing.
People it can happen that fast. Most people wouldn’t have stood up to them like I did.
Remarkably, according to Moore’s attorney, the agencies involved in the nighttime raid could have done simple research of documents available in State databases and avoided harassing the family at all. Had the agents of the State done due diligence, they might have learned that Moore holds three significant firearms designations, including a National Rifle Association Certified Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Range Safety Instructor and New Jersey State Certified Firearms Hunting Instructor. His young son is a licensed hunter in the State, a designation that requires firearm safety training.
Moore did what many Americans fail to do when harassed by overzealous police and social workers: He knew and exerted his rights and contacted an attorney at first chance.
Calls made to New Jersey DYFS were transferred to a voicemail account of an agency representative with a voice recording informing callers that she would be unreachable until April 4 because of legal obligations.