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Cops try to force illegal search over a Facebook gun photo

An anonymous tipper gave this Facebook photo to law enforcement, who came to the house of Shawn Moore demanding to catalog his guns. (Shawn Moore Facebook Photo)

Shawn Moore had no idea that a Facebook photo of his happy son could bring the police to his doorstep.

The gun in the photo, a .22 caliber rifle, was a birthday present to his 11-year-old son, Josh. Both father and son are state licensed hunters who enjoy the sport together, and Josh is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor, Range Safety Instructor, and a State Certified Firearms Hunting Instructor.

"There's absolutely nothing illegal with this picture," said Dori.

But one concerned citizen saw the photo and alerted the New Jersey Department of Child Services, who then went to the Moore family's home with two police officers.

"They wanted to go through the house and make sure that guns were not available to kids," said Shawn in an interview with Fox News. "And once they went through the house they wanted to get into my safe and they wanted to run all the serial numbers on my firearms and make sure they were all registered to me. And catalog them."

But Shawn stood his ground. He called his attorney, who told him that he didn't have to let the police in without a warrant. In New Jersey, registering firearms is not a requirement; it's voluntary.

But The Department of Child Services of New Jersey wouldn't let it go, and they threatened to take Shawn's children away if he didn't go along with the search.

"They were asking me if I had anything to hide - if I didn't, why wouldn't I open the safe?" said Shawn. "After about an hour of arguing with me, they packed up their stuff and left."

Dori says the whole thing was unconstitutional.

"They never came back because they didn't have any reason," said Dori. "They had no probable cause other than a proud father and a happy son putting a picture up on Facebook."

Shawn's son, on the other hand, couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.

"I've been shooting guns since I was five," said Josh. "I was really happy about getting the gun. Then when they showed up, that was seriously getting me really mad."

The Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Listen to Dori Monson every weekday at 12noon on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author


Jillian Raftery is an afternoon editor at KIRO Radio. She loves the neighborly vibe of the Pacific Northwest and spends as much time as possible outdoors.

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