So now New York is coming for my (Not A) Flamethrower

Earlier this week we talked about a new congressional effort to ban private ownership of flamethrowers. That effort has failed twice in the past and the bill’s prospects don’t appear much better this time around (thankfully). But that doesn’t mean that the states won’t take matters into their own hands. As usual, when a bad idea like this comes up, New York State generally leads the way in leaping into action and it appears that’s happening again. Legislators in the Empire State are already busy voting on a general ban on all flamethrowers and they’re aiming specifically at the ones sold by Elon Musk last year.. (

The New York State Senate has passed a bill banning possession of flamethrowers, classifying the objects as weapons of the fourth degree. The move comes in response to a merchandise promotion by Elon Musk’s Boring Company, wherein flamethrowers sporting the tunneling operation’s logo were sold for $500 each during a limited run of 20,000 units. To avoid issues with customs agencies, the devices were renamed to Not-A-Flamethrower; however, it’s not likely the naming convention will have much effect on legislation.

“Elon Musk’s Boring Company released a new flamethrower which sold out of all 20,000 within days, without any concern to the training of the purchasers or their reasons for buying. Allowing the general public to access this type of machine is extremely problematic; some commercial flamethrowers can project flames up to twenty feet from the user,” a memo written by the bill’s sponsor stated.

Even if they manage to get this bill passed and signed by the governor, it’s in for all sorts of problems. First of all, they’re going to need to define what does or doesn’t qualify as “a flamethrower.” Under current law in New York, the device has to project the flame more than ten feet to fit the definition. Musk’s Not A Flamethrower (NAF) was specifically toned down to only reach seven or eight feet. Also, the current definitions refer to devices that project flaming liquid fuel, such as the ones the military uses. The NAF runs off compressed propane gas.

These distinctions will be important because people are already able to purchase flamethrowers for commercial or agricultural use (without any sort of license or training, by the way) that do the exact same thing. And the pending legislation goes out of its way to craft exemptions for those products. In other words, they might as well have named this bill the “We Don’t Like Elon Musk Act.”

As regular readers already know, this topic is of a direct and personal nature to me. I live in New York State and happen own one of Mr. Musk’s flamethrowers. And I’ll be damned if they’re going to take it away from me. If this bill passes and nobody else beats me to it, I may need to bring a legal challenge to the law. Along lose lines, if you happen to know any good Second Amendment lawyers willing to engage in some rather unusual pro bono work, I’d be very interested in talking to them. This sort of thing could become massively expensive very quickly.

In closing, here’s a video of the NAF taking on a miniature snowman for no particular reason at all.