Since flamethrowers are mostly known as weapons you see in World War II movies, one might ask: Why would anyone have a flamethrower in Florida? And are they legal to own?
The answer to that last question is yes — not only are flamethrowers legal in Florida, they are legal in 48 other states. Only Maryland bans them outright. In California, which has more than its share of destructive wildfires, you need a permit to operate one.
Fact is, flamethrowers are not considered firearms under the National Firearms Act.
Flamethrowers can be used for agricultural purposes, to melt ice or to start controlled burns. You can buy a flamethrower online. A quick Amazon search of the term turns up lower-grade versions of the tools for around $49.
Some, though, purchase a flamethrower for the thrill of it.
In 2018, Elon Musk sold over 20,000 flamethrowers (at $500 a pop) on the day of the product’s launch on his Boring Company website. He called his flamethrower “Not a Flamethrower” to get past customs restrictions limiting shipment of anything called a flamethrower — or so he tweeted at the time.
Apparently, some customs agencies are saying they won’t allow shipment of anything called a “Flamethrower”. To solve this, we are renaming it “Not a Flamethrower”.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 2, 2018
Musk even threw pickup parties in California for purchasers to pick them up and take pictures while lighting up the end or toasting a marshmallow. Printed on the box were the words “for recreational use only”.
Meanwhile, Maryland considers flamethrowers destructive devices and the law prohibits their manufacture and possession. A violation of the state law is considered a felony and an offender can face up to 25 years in jail and up to $250,000 in fines.
So in Florida, as well as in 47 other states, it is perfectly legal to own and operate a flamethrower without any permits, so long as you’re not using it as a weapon against another person.
Sometimes people do that, however.
In December, a man was arrested in Ocala for allegedly using a flamethrower on a car that had three teens inside. He was upset with the way they had been parking the car. He’s now facing three counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, according to AP.