Lawmaker wants to ban Elon Musk's flamethrower

A California politician is outraged by The Boring Company's popular flamethrowers, but fans are sticking up for the fiery gadgets.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
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So far, The Boring Company has received over 15,000 preorders for its $500 flamethrower. 

The Boring Company

Elon Musk may be pulling off one of the most epic "Spaceballs" jokes ever with the preorder sales for his Boring Company flamethrowers, but at least one California politician doesn't find it funny it all. 

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, a Democrat who represents Los Angeles, said Monday he intends to introduce state legislation blocking sales of the flamethrowers to the public. 

Watch this: Elon Musk's flamethrower is a hot seller

Santiago cites Boring Company's main project of developing a network of tunnels to ease traffic on busy urban streets. "This deviation feels like a complete slap in the face," he said of the flamethrowers. 

The lawmaker said he's "in awe of Mr. Musk's genius," but he's concerned about problems flamethrowers could cause for firefighters and police officers. California is still reeling after a series of intense wildfires in December.

A Boring Company spokesman told CNET, "The Boring Company flamethrower is safer than what you can buy right now off-the-shelf on Amazon to destroy weeds. Much like a rollercoaster, this is designed to be thrilling without danger. Dangerous flamethrowers are already regulated and require a permit to own in California."

Santiago's statement, released on Twitter and Facebook, hasn't gotten much support from social media commentators, who are referring to it as "knee jerk legislation," a "buzzkill" and an "awfully misguided overreaction." 

Musk tweeted about safety concerns and the legality of the flamethrower over the weekend:

So far, The Boring Company has received over 15,000 preorders for the $500 (£355, AU$620) branded flamethrowers, which it advertises as the "world's safest flamethrower." It's also selling a branded fire extinguisher for an extra $30 (£21, AU$37). 

Santiago introduced a placeholder measure for the flamethrower sales ban and intends to unveil a completed version of the legislation in early March. 

The Boring Company's flamethrowers are due to ship this spring, so Santiago may be in a race against time to get his ban considered by the California State Assembly.