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Guy sent away for various gun charges - and posing baby daughter with loaded machine gun

A Roxbury man who posed his infant daughter with an illegal machine gun for photos was sentenced to three to five years in prison today after pleading guilty to a variety of charges, including reckless endangerment of a child, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office says.

Prosecutors say that when police arrived at Michael Major's 10 Brinton St. home in response to a domestic-violence call on Jan. 10, they found Major's beaten-up and robbed girlfriend, a cache of illegal weapons and photos showing Major's and his girlfriend's daughter, then 17 months, posed with a Cobray MAC-11 machine gun with a large-capacity feeding device.

"It's not just chilling but incomprehensible that a person would do such a thing with a child," DA Dan Conley said. "Every day, we see the damage that unregistered firearms do to intended and unintended targets in the City of Boston. Posing a child with a weapon like this one, apparently loaded, isn't cute. It's not amusing. It's criminal and it just shocks the conscience."

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Not to be a crank (I'm not a gun owner), but how do they know it was loaded? I don't think a 17-month-old could pull the trigger hard enough to make it fire anyway. I'm not defending the judgment of Mr. Major, given that he'll be doing time for the domestic abuse and illegal firearm possession, but I don't see how the photos *by themselves* warrant a child endangerment charge. I'm sure there are other ways to slap that charge on this jerk, though.

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IANAL, but I'm guessing that they can legally ascertain that since it's an illegal piece of equipment, it's not protected by any manufacturing standards, thus could be assumed to have the potential to explode or something? Or that someone else could come over and pull the trigger, thus it's reckless to have your child near a machine gun?

I think framing it as child neglect is reasonable from a victim advocacy standpoint, in that this kid is going to grow up knowing on some level that Dad's priority wasn't exactly his child's well-being. Studies show that survivors whose perpetrator has been convicted of something do much better, because it's been officially validated. Likewise if nothing illegal was done, but the kid knows that the other parent left because of the dysfunction, or the state put the kid in residential because of it, or the family was sent to mandatory therapy, or whatever. The people who have the worst time recovering are the ones who know that their primary caretakers were sketchy, but aren't able to pin down something blatantly wrong that they actually did to them. I've seen a lot of horribly confused young adults who grew up with parents involved in gangs and whatnot, where the family obviously wasn't the priority and the kids were in constant danger, but the parent didn't ever hit the kid or do anything actually "wrong" and the family was never involved in services. It really messes with kids.

(BTW, some 17-month-olds could pull a trigger on a machine gun. I'm not sure exactly how much force it takes, but I've worked with toddlers who can do things like knock over a full bookcase or pitch a marble ashtray across the room or rip a guitar string in half. Neglected kids especially can have some crazy amounts of adrenaline pumping through them.)

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