Honest Mistake: Order A TV From Amazon, Receive An Illegal Assault Rifle

from the might-have-been-a-mistake dept

With guns and violence in the news lately, you would think that everyone involved in the chain of the firearms business would be a teensy-weensy bit more careful, from manufacturers, to retailers, all the way up to those handling the shipping and distribution. As with any other business, you have to expect to deal with some human error, but one would imagine that the firearms industry would have the tightest of controls in place right now.

As it turns out, such notions are exactly that: imagination. Or, at least that appears to be the case in the Wired story of a man from Washington D.C. who ordered a television on Amazon and was shipped a Sig Sauer 716 Patrol Rifle. For anyone keeping score at home, that's a military grade weapon. Seth Horvitz, the guy who is guilty of attempted TV-buying, is not a military grade citizen.
“When I saw some metal parts inside the box, I thought, ‘Maybe this is a TV stand or mount or something,’” Horvitz said in a phone interview with Wired. “When I realized it was an assault rifle, it was pure shock and disbelief.”
The Wired interviewer chooses not to ask Horvitz if he attempted to point the weapon at his wall and pull the trigger to see if flat-panel televisions shot out, which is disappointing. In any case, Horvitz did the responsible thing and immediately called the D.C. police, who informed him that the weapon is illegal to own in the District of Columbia. There is no word yet on whether flat-panel displays are also illegal, but I'm guessing not. 

The story then details how the mistake happened, which essentially appears to boil down to a lovely bit of insight into the shipping warehouses of UPS, in which the Label Fairy made a mistake and put two shipping labels (only one of which was correct) on the box-'o-death and allowed the box to be shipped anyway. Everyone from the guy who let it leave the warehouse to the guy who delivered the rifle to Horvitz's door apparently decided to play the new hit game "Shipping Address Coin Flip", resulting in Horvitz getting his new Rambo Halloween costume accessory. Amazon, predictably, disavowed any responsibility for the mistake, which it's looking like it has every right to do. On the other hand, when Horvitz tried to post a review of his purchase, Amazon blocked it. Admittedly, the review was hillarious, and guns and funny just don't mix:

I'm not sure what pretending all this didn't happen accomplishes from Amazon's end, other than to perhaps flip open the cover to the Streisand Effect alarm, press it, and wait for the derision to ensue.

Filed Under: guns, mistakes, shipping, tv
Companies: amazon, ups

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 9 Aug 2012 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Have to wonder

    True, but there's now a non-zero chance you could get an assault rifle is a better line.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.