California fails to block shipment of Elon Musk's (not a) flamethrower

For those who may have missed it over the winter, back in February, SpaceX boss Elon Musk had a bit of a fundraising/marketing initiative going. He was selling ballcaps for his Boring Company subsidiary, who are generally involved in planning tunneling for the Hyperloop. Seemingly as a joke, he claimed that if they could sell 50,000 of the hats for twenty bucks each he would start selling flamethrowers. Because Musk has attracted an army of fans who basically think of him as the real-life Tony Stark, the hats sold out.

True to his word, he put the engineers at Boring Company to work and announced they had developed the promised flamethrower and would sell 20,000 of them, each with their own serial number, for $500 bucks a shot. But how many people would actually send him half a grand for a flamethrower that didn’t really even exist yet? They sold out in less than 48 hours.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I ordered one in the first two hours after the offer went up online.

Out in California, Democrats quickly proved that the one thing they really can’t stand is the idea of somebody, somewhere having any fun. Legislators quickly began working on plans to thwart the sales and delivery of the devices. Complaints were raised about concerns over wildfires or just sending the wrong message. Musk initially responded by saying that if they didn’t want him selling flamethrowers he would change the name. The product is now called the “Not a Flamethrower.”

That still wasn’t good enough for the wet blankets in the crowd and the state moved forward with a bill designed to block Musk’s plans. But as Ars Technica reports this week, that effort finally collapsed and the bill died in committee.

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:

It was probably too late anyway. The production models were already finished and preparing to ship. Check out this very short video of a couple of the Boring Company workers playing around with them.

Musk had previously said that everyone who had ordered one would need to sign off on an end-user agreement before the (not a) flamethrower would be shipped. We received ours last month and I wound up tweeting a couple of pages of it which struck me as particularly amusing.

New York State also talked about trying to ban the flamethrower deliveries, but those efforts didn’t go anywhere either. Most of the country already has bans on actual flamethrowers like the ones used by the military in combat, but those laws don’t apply to devices which throw a flame less than ten feet. Musk dialed his back so the flames wouldn’t break the ten foot barrier. And if California and New York want to crack down on devices with shorter flames, they immediately run into a situation where they would be reclassifying and restricting any number of common industrial devices. It just wasn’t worth the hassle.

I’ll let you all know when ours arrives and we get some sort of a video put together. I plan on killing a zombie.