California’s efforts to restrict Elon Musk’s flamethrowers go down in flames

A California state bill that would have more heavily regulated the use of flamethrowers has now effectively fizzled out in a legislative committee.

In light of this development, there’s nothing to stop Boring Company customers in California from receiving the company’s sold-out flamethrowers.

On May 26, the day after the bill died in committee, CEO Elon Musk tweeted:

About to ship. @BoringCompany holding flamethrower pickup parties in a week or so, then deliveries begin. Check for details.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 26, 2018

In the wake of Musk’s February marketing stunt to sell what he dubbed “Not a Flamethrower,” Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) authored a bill that would have imposed more restrictions on their acquisition and use.

“I honestly thought it was a joke when I saw the news about this,” the assemblyman said in a statement at the time. “This product, in the wake of California’s deadliest wildfire year in state history, is incredibly insensitive, dangerous, and most definitely not funny.”

He added: “There are many times in which technology and inventions benefit society but are not made available to the public. 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.”

Quickly, the Firearms Policy Coalition, an advocacy group, urged its members to oppose the bill.

No one from Santiago’s office or the Firearms Policy Coalition immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment.

Currently, while California law requires a $425 permit for flamethrowers that shoot beyond 10 feet, there are few federal or state-level regulations on possession of the devices. Initially, Santiago’s bill would have expanded the permitting process, although after some negotiation, its language was drastically reduced to simply require a warning label.

Musk has indicated that the “Not a Flamethrower” would have a limited range and would stay under the 10-foot limit.

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

Neither the Boring Company nor Musk responded to Ars’ request for comment.

Ars has ordered one of these flamethrowers, and Ars’ gadget guru Ron Amadeo is planning on reviewing it.

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