Seth Horvitz was in for a bit of a surprise last night when he went to open his brand new flat screen TV ordered off Amazon.com. That's because instead of the TV, the box left outside his apartment door in Northeast D.C. contained an assault rifle, he says. It was a brand new SIG 716 to be exact, a semi-automatic patrol rifle worth at least $1,800.
"This isn't a toy and it's not something used for hunting necessarily," says Horvitz. "It's used for killing people. That's what its meant for — that's what this weapon was built for — so needless to say, I was shocked to have it sitting in my kitchen."
Horvitz didn't know what to do with the weapon, so he called the Metropolitan Police Department, who came and confiscated it. Assault weapons are still illegal in the District, despite the city's decades-old gun ban being lifted in 2010.
"[The Police] were almost as confused as me, to tell you the truth. They themselves identified the weapon as an assault rifle when they saw it and said, 'Yeah, you can't keep this,'" says Horvitz.
Horvitz had ordered the television from a third party seller through Amazon. He received an email Tuesday from the seller denying any responsibility for the mix-up.
What was even more astounding for Horvitz than even receiving the gun was that UPS left the gun on his apartment's front door, where anybody, including children who live in the building, could have taken it.
"It's very strange, the cardboard box had a UPS label with my name on it," he says. " But there was another label underneath, with different information."
That label was for a gun shop in Pennsylvania. The gun shop confirmed that they were waiting for an assault weapon, but unfortunately for Horvitz, they were not in possession of his TV.
It's perfectly legal to ship rifles through UPS, as long as certain conditions are met, like receiver having a license.
Update: UPS public relations director Susan Rosenberg responded to a request for comment with this statement Wednesday evening: "We appreciate that the D.C. resident came to the authorities with concern about the delivery. UPS has been in touch with local police and is cooperating in an investigation. There's nothing more to share at this point."