You—anyone—can buy a flamethrower! For now.
That's the exciting but concerning takeaway message of this intriguing Ars Technica story about suburban Detroit-area politicians who are contemplating flamethrower bans because of a company in Troy, Michigan, that has begun selling one of the first commercially available flamethrowers in the U.S. The product, the XM42, costs $899, weighs 10 pounds, and shoots flames.
In my opinion this, from XM42.com, is the best possible spec that anyone could have on a sales site for their product:
Mayor Jim Fouts of nearby Warren, Michigan, who is not sure flamethrowers should be legal, told Ars Technica about his objections to the free sale of such devices. (A ban is also being considered in Troy.)
"My concern is that flamethrowers in the wrong hands could cause catastrophic damage either to the person who is using it or more likely to the person who is being targeted," he said.
Well, that's a fair point. But is there anything that can stop a bad guy with a flamethrower besides a good guy with a flamethrower?
For now, in any case, everyone in Michigan—and everywhere else in the U.S. besides Maryland, which bans the devices—is still free to order both the XM42 and the more powerful but more expensive and much heavier (50 lb.) X15 model made by a competing flamethrower manufacturer in Cleveland.