Would you buy a commercially-made flamethrower?
City officials in Warren, Michigan want to ban the use of new commercially-made flamethrowers.
The Detroit Free Press reports a company in Detroit and one in Cleveland are selling the devices that can shoot flames up to 50 feet through the air.
Ion Productions out of Troy, Michigan says on their website that their XM42 flamethrower, which is said to be the first commercially made and available hand flamethrower, has practical purposes such as clearing snow and ice and can be used for insect or weed control.
The devices use regular unleaded gas, a gas-diesel mixture or alcohol and an electric fuel pump to throw the fuel used by the device.
Flamethrowers are currently only banned for general public use in California and Maryland.
But Warren, Mayor Jim Fouts is attempting to ban their use in Warren, Michigan’s third largest city.
“I’m very concerned about it,” Fouts told the Free Press. “It’s very dangerous in a lot of situations.”
The Detroit Free Press reports the devices do not qualify as firearms under the National Firearms Act. In fact, the devices are unregulated.
This may be why Fouts is taking the matter very seriously, proposing an ordinance against the devices at a Warren city council meeting.
While the council reportedly had no complaints about flamethrowers, Fouts has cited his primary concerns are about property damage and injuries.
“You know something like this will be used by bad people for bad things,” Fouts said.
If Fouts gets his way, violations of the proposed ban could face jail time and potential fines of up to $500.
Ion Productions CEO Chris Byars told reporters that irresponsible use is not much different than people who might use tools or vehicles to inflict harm on others.
“Even if a product doesn’t have any measurable utilitarian purpose aside from entertainment, that’s not reason that an individual should be banned from ownership,” Byars told reporters.
He says product use is what should determine punishment for user in case of a crime.
“Simply owning a particular product should not be a punishable offense,” Byars told the Free Press. “It’s a matter of education and respect for safety.”
For now, Warren will have to wait and see if the devices eventually become banned. The city council ended up putting the matter on hold for the moment as they look for clarifications about what constitutes an illegal flamethrower.