No charges will be filed against a man who posted online a photo of his young son holding what appeared to be a military-style rifle, police said Wednesday.
In a moment of heightened sensitivity around guns and gun control, the brief saga had the makings of a debate starter between people who oppose guns and those who say authorities are overzealous about even legal weapons.
Police in Carneys Point, a town of 8,000 some 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia, gave their version Wednesday, days after the boy's father, Shawn Moore, brought attention to the issue, saying that state child welfare workers and police in SWAT gear showed up at his home because of the online photos.
Moore first posted a comment about the incident on a gun rights website and within days was appearing with his son, Josh, on a Fox News talk show and elsewhere. Moore said that the weapon was a .22-caliber rifle made to look like an assault rifle and that it was a gift for Josh's upcoming 11th birthday.
In a statement, Carney Point Police Chief Robert DiGregorio and Mayor Richard Gatanis said officers went to the family's home at about 8:15 p.m. Friday after getting anonymous tips that a boy there might have access to weapons and ammunition.
"In light of some of the recent school shootings across our nation, the Carneys Point Police Department takes these types of calls seriously," they said, adding that they were obligated to go there with state Department of Children and Family caseworkers who requested assistance.