Even the Law Can't Stop Elon Musk's Flamethrower—Here's Why

Jared Keller

Key Point:  If it’s a question of public safety, you can do plenty more damage with household objects than the piddling flame of Musk’s Boring Company flamethrower, and an overly broad ban would end up having unintended consequences.

Ever since billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled his slick new commercial flamethrower for the low, low price of $500, Americans have been scrambling to stake their claim to the incendiary gadget. By Feb. 1, Musk’s Boring Company announced it had sold a whopping 20,000 flamethrowers. “When the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll be glad you bought a flamethrower,” Musk joked on Twitter. “Works against hordes of the undead or your money back!”

Whether or not the Boring Company flamethrower actually constitutes a proper incendiary cannon is a matter of debate. Indeed, footage of prototypes in action is more reminiscent of an oversized butane-jet lighter than the fiery liquid mixture of nitrogen propellant and gasoline that defined the Army’s M2 flamethrower during the Vietnam War.

Regardless, lawmakers are already looking to rain on your future fiery parade. As flamethrower pre-orders were burning up the Boring Company website, New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to effectively ban the purchase or possession of any sort of incendiary flame cannon by civilians.

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