By MICHAEL BALSAMO Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas man is the first person to be charged under a federal ban on bump stocks, devices that allow a semi-automatic firearm to fire rapidly like a machine gun, the Justice Department said Thursday.
Ajay Dhingra, 43, of Houston, came on the radar of the U.S. Secret Service in August after he sent an email to the George W. Bush Foundation asking the former president to “send one of your boys to come and murder me,” according to court records.
Prosecutors allege that Dhingra had previously been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility and was prohibited from owning firearms. When Secret Service agents showed up at his house, Dhingra told them he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, court documents said.
At his home, investigators found a handgun and an AR-15 rifle that had a bump stock attached to it, the documents said. Investigators also found four 100-round magazines.
Dhingra’s case is the first brought by the U.S. Justice Department for violating the nationwide bump stock ban since it took effect in March, under the same federal law that prohibits possessing machine guns. The devices became a focal point of the national gun control debate after they were used by the gunman who killed 58 people and left hundreds of others injured in the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.
Dhingra was indicted on charges that include possessing a machine gun and making false statements to acquire a firearm.
His attorney, David Adler, declined to comment Thursday.