Flamethrowers used to be a commonly used weapon by the United States military during wars, until they became very controversial. The military discontinued their use after the Vietnam War.
Decades after their use was discontinued, flamethrowers are making a comeback, but this time, they are being sold to the public.
The two companies behind this effort are Throwflame, a startup in Cleveland, and Ion Production Team of Detroit. Both companies started selling flamethrowers to the public this year, and the prices range from $900 for flamethrowers that can shoot fire for up to 25 feet, to $1,599 for flamethrowers that can shoot up to 50 feet.
Even though flamethrowers were originally used as weapons in the past, these flamethrowers are being marketed for entertainment purposes. According to Quinn Whitehead, the founder of Throwflame, flamethrowers are being marketed to people who want to use them for fun and impress their neighbors at BBQs.
Although Mr. Whitehead and Ion Productions CEO Chris Byars both said that safety is a priority for them, and the flamethrowers haven’t caused any injuries, Ion Production’s website has a note on its website that says that the flamethrowers can result in serious injuries or death.
In an interview with CNN Money, both companies pointed to the fact that flamethrowers have practical uses, which they illustrated with an example of farmers using them to clear unwanted brush in their fields. They also said the flamethrowers can be used by fire departments to control fires and prevent them from spreading.
After hearing the news, the biggest question people are asking is if flamethrowers are legal. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, flamethrowers aren’t currently regulated. Because they are not guns, buyers don’t have to go through background checks to buy them as they would if they were purchasing a gun.
However, there are state laws governing flamethrowers. In Maryland, flamethrowers are banned for purchase or use. In California, they are considered destructive devices, which make them illegal to own. But the state does issue permits for the use of flamethrowers on movie sets.
According to Throwflame and Ion Productions, these flamethrowers are sold online, and are shipped to their clients using the postal service and UPS. Byars doesn’t ship fuel along with the flamethrower because of the restrictions against shipping flammable liquids. UPS also doesn’t have any problem with shipping flamethrowers, as long as they aren’t shipped with the fuel, and are legal to ship in the state they are picked up from and the state they are to be delivered.