When an envelope addressed to Chris Swiatlon arrived in mid-July, it contained the pistol permit he’d been waiting for, except the permit wasn’t his.
"Completely different person, looks nothing like me. Not even close to the same name, different address, different town," he said.
For Swiatlon, it was both a privacy issue and a safety concern.
"Because assuming my permit's lost, my first fear is someone who looks like me out there could possibly use my permit to purchase a gun," he said.
Swiatlon wondered if the other man received his permit and tried reaching out, hoping to arrange a swap. He also wanted to assure the man that his permit was in good hands, but Swiatlon said he didn’t hear back.
Next, he called the Connecticut State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit, the division of troopers that handles pistol permits.
He explained the situation to a supervisor and Swiatlon said she told him he violated the other man’s privacy by calling him.
The supervisor told Swiatlon a new permit would be mailed to him, but Swiatlon said there was no mention of what to do with the other man’s permit, or what happened to his own permit in the first place.
“Mine could be anywhere for all I know,” he said.
NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters contacted Connecticut State Police.
A spokesperson for the department provided the following statement:
“The Special Licensing and Firearms Unit (SLFU) is aware that due to an administrative error, a pistol permit renewal was recently mailed to the wrong individual. We regret the delay this may have caused the recipient and want to assure the public that there are a number of measures in place to prevent the illegal use of a misdirected, lost or stolen permit. These include a corresponding photograph of the licensee on the permit and field accessibility to the permit database for real-time verification. Of the nearly 5,000 permit applications processed in July, this is the only such occasion that has been brought to our attention. Every effort is being made to ensure that every letter reaches its intended recipient.”
When asked what Swiatlon should do with the other permit, the spokesperson said he should call SLFU.
Swiatlon is holding onto it until he receives clear instructions.
The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters also reached out to the man whose permit was mistakenly mailed to Swiatlon. He said he never received Swiatlon’s message and was unaware of the situation.
When the other man's permit didn’t arrive on time, he said he called SLFU and was mailed a new one.