A strange episode that brought the police to a New Jersey family's home started with this photo:
This is a kid from Carneys Point, NJ holding his latest toy: a .22 caliber rifle, outfitted to look like a military assault rifle. The photo was posted on facebook, which, the family believes prompted someone to call New Jersey's anonymous child abuse hotline. Authorities, both police and child welfare officers, responded to the call and showed up at the family's home. The boy's father, Shawn Moore, was not pleased:
"They said they wanted to see into my safe and see if my guns were registered," Moore 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."
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. They did, and nothing has happened since, he said.
"I don't like what happened," said Moore. "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."
That sounds like an overreaction, but if Moore didn't leave out any details, the authorities did behave strangely. It may be that they did what they could to try and ensure the wellbeing of the boy. It's hard to say from this distance. Also speaking from a distance: I don't mind a lack of total freedom when it comes to guns. This seems like an overreaction on the part of the New Jersey authorities, but when it comes to guns, I'll take a few false positives in the name of keeping things safe and civil.