A New Jersey family is up in arms after the state's child welfare services and the police came knocking on their door after seeing a Facebook photo of their 10-year-old boy who appeared to be holding a gun — a semi-automatic assault rifle — while wearing a camouflage jacket.
The boy's father, of Carney's Point, a rural South Jersey town near Delaware, said authorities forced their way into his home on Saturday without a warrant and threatened to take away his kids.
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Moore released a statement about the gun incident
on the Delaware Open Carry blog.
"Dyfs [Division of Youth and Family Services] 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," Moore wrote. "They kept trying to pressure me to open my safe. They had no warrant, no charges, nothing. I didn't budge."
Moore, who works in construction and is an NRA-certified instructor and state-certified hunting instructor, said the DYFS agent threatened to take away his kids.
The agent refused to give Moore her name.
By the end of the incident, authorities left "empty handed and seeing nothing," Moore wrote.
Moore said that his son Josh was holding was a .22-calibre rimfire rifle that looks like a military-style firearm.
The replica .22-calibre rifle is generally used for recreational shooting, beginners' firearms training, and for hunting small-game. Moore said it was a gift for the boy's upcoming 11th birthday.
Evan Nappen, Moore’s attorney, criticized the N.J. Department of Children and Families for its conduct Saturday night, calling the attempted gun inspection
a "heavy-handed raid" in an interview with the Daily News.
"Just because it has a sexy look to it, does not make (the gun) an assault firearm," Nappen said on Wednesday. "[Moore] bought it for (Josh), but it doesn’t mean the boy keeps it under his pillow. He uses it in direct supervision of his father."
Nappen said the family is considering filing a complaint against the state.
It is not clear who reported the photo to the agency.
However, a spokeswoman for the state agency told Fox News Radio that a hotline is available for people to report suspected child abuse.
"We are required to follow up on every single allegation that comes into the central registry," the spokesperson said.
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