No, This Not-a-Law Probably Won't Ban Elon Musk's Stupid Not-a-Flamethrower

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty)

Earlier this month, New York’s state senate passed S1637, a bill to establish “the crime of criminal possession of a flamethrower,” described by some as a ban on Elon Musk’s Not-A-Flamethrower. Here are some things you should know about that proposal:

  • It was introduced by Senator John E. Brooks of the state’s 8th district, which covers Amityville, Jones Beach, and some other forgettable parts of Long Island.
  • In his justification for introducing the bill, Brooks specifically cited the gimmicky “Not-A-Flamethrower” released in limited quantities by Elon Musk’s Boring Company.
  • California attempted a similar ban over a year ago, also due to Musk’s very dumb stunt. It died in committee. Before being sent to the governor, Brooks’ bill needs to be approved the lower house of the New York state legislature, which has not voted on it yet.
  • Michael Reid, the chief of staff for Senator Brooks, has claimed the bill is specifically designed to include the Not-A-Flamethrower.
  • S1637 defines a flamethrower as “A DEVICE CAPABLE OF PROJECTING A STREAM OF BURNING FUEL A DISTANCE OF AT LEAST THREE FEET.” Videos of the Not-A-Flamethrower in operation suggest that it may not capable of projecting fuel that far.
  • The Not-A-Flamethrower is powered by propane. It has been called “a roofing torch in an airsoft gun shell” by an actual flamethrower salesman.
  • Similarly capable devices are available at nearly every hardware store.
  • All 20,000 Not-A-Flamethrower units sold out in less than one week, and have remained unavailable for over a year.
  • Given the option to make any change to alleviate the problems facing the state of New York, someone decided that this was a valuable use of time, and the people that elected that guy live among us.
  • This entire situation is likely delighting Musk, who does not need any more encouragement.
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Bryan Menegus

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bryan.menegus [at] gizmodo.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

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