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Gun photo causes stir, but police refrain from unlawful search

In this era of social media and online interactivity, it is easy for the lines of privacy to get blurred. In that context, many people who use Twitter of Facebook (or other social media platforms) may feel like they can say pretty much anything on these websites with little recourse. This is most definitely not the case, and it is easy for a simple misunderstanding to quickly turn into a serious matter.

This is important to remember when you consider the following story which deals with guns, making it an even more heated story than usual, given the current climate over guns.

A father took a picture of his boy holding a .22-caliber rifle and then posted it to Facebook. The gun was customized in a way to make it look like an assault rifle, even though it wasn't. The authorities were quickly tipped to the photo and rushed to the home of the family, demanding to be let in so they could search the premises. Thankfully, the father called his attorney and put him on speakerphone. The attorney advised his client to not let them in, and the two parties (the family, with an attorney, and the police) sorted out the situation.

The police did not enter the home, nor were any charges filed against the man.

Now, was it the best decision for the father to post a picture of his child holding a gun online? Probably not. It is his choice to do so, but it certainly is not the best course of action. However, that is not necessarily the big point to be made in this story. It is that citizens have rights that protect them from an unlawful search and seizure. Knowing your rights and upholding them are crucial -- and a criminal defense attorney can do just that.

Source: Associated Press, "No charges in case of New Jersey boy pictured with gun," March 20, 2013

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Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
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