Amazon customer receives gun instead of TV

A SIG716 rifle was sent to a Washington D.C. resident from an Amazon seller instead of the TV ordered. Sig Sauer

A SIG716 rifle as seen on the company's website.
Sig Sauer

(CBS News) Seth Horvitz ordered a flat-panel TV through an Amazon.com third-party vendor, but when his package came in the mail, its contents shocked him.

Instead of a TV, the DCist.com blog reports Horvitz was surprised by a Sig Sauer SIG716, which is semi-automatic assault rifle. Horvitz said he immediately contacted the seller and reported the delivery to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Horvitz did the right thing because it would have been a crime for him to carry an assault rifle through the city to the United Parcel Service (UPS) store to ship it back to the Amazon seller.

It's not just that D.C. has tough gun laws - it's also against UPS' terms to ship automatic weapons. The company's terms state:

"UPS does not accept automatic weapons, including machine guns, for shipment."

A spokesperson for UPS declined to comment on Horvitz's claims or what method the company uses screens for potential violations.

The manufacturer Sig Sauer describes the weapon shipped to Horvitz as "the rifle of choice when you require the power of a larger caliber carbine."

A simple search of Amazon.com did not show results of the Sig Sauer SIG716, but there were several handguns for sale. It's worth noting that Amazon sellers are independent of the company - sellers ship products directly to buyers unless they sign up for the Amazon fulfillment service.

It is not clear whether or not the Amazon seller was licensed to sell or ship firearms through the mail. Amazon did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment a on the matter.

In light of recent shooting tragedies in Colorado and Wisconsin, unsolicited, and possibly illegal, firearms in the mail is a sensitive topic. The discourse over gun control has resurfaced among politicians and pundits, and The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issued a statement specifically about the Amazon incident.

"It becomes emotional for gun-rights activists," Horvitz, who said his story has appeared on gun-rights blogs, told the DCist.

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