HOUSTON, Tx. – A man in Houston, Texas was indicted on federal weapons charges on Thursday after authorities discovered he was in possession of a bump stock.
He now becomes the first person to be officially charged with violating the federal ban since bump stocks were made illegal earlier this year.
Houston authorities say that 43-year-old Ajay Dhingra was arrested and now faces four counts of federal firearms violations. Police were following up on a “concerning message” that Dhingra left with the George Bush Foundation.
According to court records, Dhingra’s message said to “send one of your boys to come murder me. I want to die by the hands of a white Christian.”
The authorities in Houston said they had brought charges in what they believed to be the country’s first prosecution under a new ban on bump stocks https://t.co/BuwtIWSQ61
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 6, 2019
Police have said that when they made contact with Dhingra at his home, a search turned up a rifle with a bump stock installed along with a Glock handgun and 277 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Shortly after the discovery, investigators found out that Dhingra had previously been committed to a mental institution and was banned by federal law from possessing a firearm or ammunition, the Department of Justice confirmed.
“The four-count indictment, returned yesterday, alleges Ajay Dhingra possessed a machine gun, made two materially false statements in the acquisition of two firearms and unlawfully possessed a firearm after having been adjudicated as a mental defective or who had been committed to a mental institution,” their statement said.
MSN reported that Dhingra is scheduled to appear for his arraignment on Sept. 12. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has said that it’s the first federal case involving the now-banned weapon modification.
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick said in his official statement that “Ajay Dhingra possessed a machine gun, made two materially false statements in the acquisition of two firearms and unlawfully possessed a firearm after having been adjudicated as a mental defective or who had been committed to a mental institution.”
A grand jury indicted a Houston man for illegally owning a firearm bump stock – the 1st such prosecution since a federal ban took effect in March.
The attachment, which enables more rapid fire, was banned after a gunman used it to kill 58 people in Las Vegas in 2017. pic.twitter.com/VTyOXrVTrt
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 5, 2019
The bump stock accessory became notorious after 64-year-old Stephen Paddock used it on his arsenal of weapons when he opened fire on the Las Vegas strip in 2017, killing 58 and wounding a total of 851 in the panic that ensued. The add-on allows the shooter to fire a semi-automatic firearm at a rate that compares with full auto.
After a heated political debate, Trump signed an official law banning the use or ownership of the bump stock, which took place at the beginning of 2019.
Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA. As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period. We will BAN all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2018