After Elon Musk announced that The Boring Company would be selling flamethrowers, Americans sat up and took notice. Pre-orders have climbed to more than 10,000. And now, not even a week later, some state lawmakers are trying their best to ban the devices. And guess which state is leading the way.
It isn’t Texas. The Boring Company’s flamethrower, still very much an unknown, is problematic for California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat.
“We don’t allow people to walk in off the street and purchase military-grade tanks or armor-piercing ammunition … I cannot even begin to imagine the problems a flamethrower would cause firefighters and police officers alike,” Santiago said in a statement.
Santiago has introduced placeholder legislation to ban sales and possession if the devices do materialize as Musk has promised.
“Laws governing the devices are few, with only California and Maryland having codified their use while the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have no mandate to restrict them,” Guns.com writes. “Though there have been no notable incidents to cite, some lawmakers in Congress and elsewhere in recent years have strived to prohibit the storage, use and possession of flamethrowers.”
Just what the new device will be capable of is still a bit of a mystery, though a recent video may answer some questions.It appears that the device would more accurately be described as a torch.
A second tweet implies the flame will stay under 10 feet.
ATF says any flamethrower with a flame shorter than 10 ft is A-ok. Our design is max fun for least danger. I’d be way more scared of a steak knife.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 28, 2018
“Our design is max fun for least danger.”
That statement may take some wind out of The Boring Company sails. Some commercial flamethrowers (like the XM42) are capable of reaching out much farther than 10 feet, and can still be used safely.
After 50k hats, we will start selling The Boring Company flamethrower
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2017
Hats sold out, flamethrowers soon!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 24, 2017
Musk made headlines when he promised to sell flamethrowers if The Boring Company was able to sell 50,000 hats. That number was reached easily, and now he vows to live up to his promise. Will Musk’s promise live up to its promise?
Either way, California will reach for the legislative fire extinguisher.