Officials: Houston man first to be charged under bump stock ban
Sept. 6 (UPI) — Authorities in Houston said they believe they’ve laid the country’s first charges for possessing a bump stock since the law went into effect in March.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas said in a statement Thursday they have indicted Ajay Dhingra, 43, on four federal firearms charges after finding him in possession of several guns including a rifle installed with a bump stock, which enables a semi-automatic weapon to fire more rapidly.
The ban was ordered by President Donald Trump last year, following several shootings including the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting in Las Vegas in which Stephen Paddock used bump stocks to fire semi-automatic weapons. Nearly 60 people were killed and hundreds were injured.
Authorities began to investigate Dhingra after he called the George W. Bush Foundation on Aug. 17 and left a “concerning message,” the district attorney’s office said.
Authorities then obtained a search warrant and found a bump stock installed on a colt rifle, a Glock 9-mm pistol, and nearly 300 rounds of ammunition, the district attorney’s office said.
Investigators also discovered that Dhingra had previously been committed to a mental institution, which prohibits him by federal law from possessing a firearm or ammunition.
“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,” the attorney’s office said.
If found guilty, Dhingra could face up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Dhingra is scheduled to be arraigned in court Sept. 12.