California legislators have failed to pass a bill restricting sales of Tesla owner Elon Musk’s puzzling new product — a recreational flamethrower — following opposition from gun lobbyists.
Musk claims his Boring Co. has sold out of its first batch of 20,000 flamethrowers at $500 a pop. He calls the product “Not a Flamethrower” because it’s nothing like military or heavy-duty commercial flamethrowers used for things like agriculture clearing.
Musk’s new toy, which actually looks like an Airsoft gun, has been described as essentially a propane torch, something like a weed-burner already available in hardware stores. But they are shown in a promo video shooting flames at least 2 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
Musk has called them “a super terrible idea” in his own marketing promos. It’s not clear why he is offering them for sale ― possibly simply to raise revenue or brand awareness — or what they will actually be when delivered to customers.
Sales were initially regarded as a prank, but Musk has announced he’ll begin handing them out at “pickup parties” this month because it’s complicated to ship products with propane. The first party is reportedly scheduled for June 9 in Los Angeles, which last year suffered one of its worst fire seasons.
Customers were told in a Snapchat note picked up on Reddit that they could “toast some marshmallows” or prepare to attack zombies.
About to ship. @BoringCompany holding flamethrower pickup parties in a week or so, then deliveries begin. Check https://t.co/WTl3TOTOkt for details.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 26, 2018
Democratic state Assemblyman Miguel Santiago of Los Angeles called the flamethrowers “incredibly insensitive, dangerous, and most definitely not funny.”
In his statement, he added: “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.”
If this is real, I’m outraged and you should be too. If this is a joke, then it’s a terribly insensitive one given that we’re coming off of the worst wildfire season in history. Either way: NOT FUNNY. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. pic.twitter.com/82n00um9Bf— Miguel Santiago (@SantiagoAD53) January 29, 2018
In response, Santiago introduced a bill requiring permits for the flamethrowers from the state fire marshal (which is already required for larger flamethrowers). Firefighters backed the bill; gun lobbyists didn’t. The bill didn’t make it out of committee last week.
If you can find an extra Not A Flamethrower or two, @elonmusk, we’d love to buy them to lovingly remember torching #AB1949. #FreedomOn https://t.co/t4MBqqAeQI https://t.co/KKWfrSlasB— Firearms Policy (@gunpolicy) May 30, 2018
The Boring Co. is creating a 2.7-mile test tunnel in Los Angeles for a pedestrian transit system. Musk sees it as the first component of a futuristic, super-high-speed Hyperloop system that could one day transport pods of travelers.
Last year the company raised $700,000 selling hats to raise money. Musk promised then that if his Boring Co. sold 50,000 hats, it would begin selling “The Boring Company flamethrower.” (“I know it’s a little off-brand, but kids love it,” he tweeted.)
I know it’s a little off-brand, but kids love it— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2017
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