Federal authorities in Houston brought charges in what they believe to be the first prosecution under a new ban on bump stocks, the attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles to fire in sustained, rapid bursts, the New York Times reports. The ban, which went into effect in March, was ordered last year by the Trump administration. Ajay Dhingra, 43, drew 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. I want to die by the hands of a white Christian.” Federal agents searched Dhingra’s apartment and found a Slide Fire bump stock attached to a Colt AR-15 rifle, a Glock 9-millimeter pistol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Dhingra faces four felony gun charges, including possession of the bump stock, possession of firearms and ammunition by someone who had been committed to a mental institution, and two counts of making false statements about his mental health history when he bought the guns. A bump stock replaces a rifle’s standard stock, which is held against the shoulder. The stock “bumps” back and forth between the shooter’s shoulder and trigger finger, causing the rifle to rapidly fire again and again. Interest in bump stocks surged after the 2017 mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas. The gunman had a dozen rifles outfitted with bump stocks and killed 58 people and wounded hundreds of others.