A Houston man was indicted Thursday for possessing a bump stock, the first known case since the device was banned earlier this year.
Ajay Dhingra, 43, was indicted on four counts of firearms violations, including possession of a machine gun, specifically, a bump stock.
Prosecutors say Mr. Dhingra also made false statements in order to get two other firearms which he is prohibited from having because of mental health reasons.
In August, Mr. Dhingra left a “concerning” message on the George Bush Foundation, which drew the attention of the Secret Service. Agents learned from his family that Mr. Dhingra suffered from schizophrenia, and when they tracked him down he admitted to having firearms, which he purchased after previous mass shootings.
They discovered a Colt AR-15 rifle installed with a bump stock, according to court documents filed by a Secret Service agent.
“According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, this is the first case filed in Texas and what is believed to be the first nationwide involving illegal possession of bump stocks since the law was implemented in March 2019,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston said in the statement.
If convicted, Mr. Dhingra faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
The shooter in the 2017 attack in Las Vegas — the deadliest in modern history — used bump stocks on his rifles as he rained fire down from his hotel room onto the crowd at a music festival which drew renewed attention to the devices.
Previous administrations had investigated but concluded they could not unilaterally ban bump stocks, saying Congress had to change the law. But the Trump administration did a re-think and concluded bump stocks were close enough to automatic rifles in functionality that they could be banned under existing laws restricting automatic rifle ownership.
That rule went into effect in March.
Bump stock owners were either to turn in the devices or destroy them by the deadline.
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