Ajay Dhingra of Texas is 1st to be charged under bump stock ban
Authorities in Houston said on Thursday that they had brought charges in what they believed to be the country’s first prosecution under a new ban on bump stocks, the attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles to fire in sustained, rapid bursts. The ban, which went into effect in March, was ordered last year by the Trump administration following several mass shootings.
The suspect in the Houston case, Ajay Dhingra, 43, drew authorities’ attention in August after he sent an email to the George W Bush Presidential Center asking the former president to “send one of your boys to come murder me,” according to court records. “I want to die by the hands of a white Christian.”
Federal agents then searched Dhingra’s apartment and found a Slide Fire bump stock attached to a Colt AR-15 rifle, a Glock 9mm pistol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to court records. Dhingra faces four felony gun charges, including possession of the bump stock, possession of firearms and ammunition by someone who had been committed to amental institution, and two counts of making false statements about his mental health history when he bought the guns. Dhingra’s mother said that he had schizophrenia. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined $250,000 on each charge. Dhingra’s lawyer declined to comment on Thursday.
Interest in bump stocks surged after the shooting at a concert in Las Vegas in 2017. The gunman had a dozen rifles outfitted with bump stocks and killed 58 people. Trump announced the ban on bump stocks after the 2018 shooting at a school in Parkland that left 17 dead.