Elon Musk revealed on Monday, January 29 that he has so far sold $5 million worth of his Boring Company-branded flamethrowers in just a couple of days of sales.
Whoever knew there were so many nuts to roast.
Great for roasting nuts https://t.co/MGmkSJhIyx
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 28, 2018
The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and tunneling outfit The Boring Company said that half of the 20,000-unit consignment of $500 devices have so far been pre-ordered and will be shipping globally in the spring. If it’s not banned.
Unfortunately for Musk and those who bought his flamethrower, there are some custom agencies that won’t let him ship anything called a “flamethrower.” Luckily, he has proposed to rename the product to something more customs-friendly. So far, his options include “not a flamethrower” and “Temperature Enhancement Device.”
Apparently, some customs agencies are saying they won’t allow shipment of anything called a “Flamethrower”. To solve this, we are renaming it “Not a Flamethrower”.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 2, 2018
Or maybe “Temperature Enhancement Device”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2018
When people began questioning the flamethrower’s legality, Musk responded that the reach of its flame is shorter than the 10-foot limit stipulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The billionaire entrepreneur added that it’s been designed to offer “max fun for least danger,” claiming he’d be “way more scared of a steak knife.”
But California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) is having none of it, issuing a statement on Monday announcing his intention to introduce legislation to ban sales of the flamethrower in the state of California.
“I honestly thought it was a joke when the article was read to me,” Santiago said. He added that while he was in awe of Musk’s “genius” for the work he’s doing on other projects, he should understand that “with great power comes responsibility.” And selling a flamethrower for fun really doesn’t seem that responsible.
Santiago also hit out at Musk for apparently moving away from The Boring Company’s core ambition of building a network of futuristic transportation tunnels, saying that the state and Los Angeles have “entrusted Mr. Musk to alleviate a real public policy problem here by executing a tunnel under the city to help alleviate traffic,” adding, “This deviation feels like a real slap in the face.”
Musk, a man whose past actions demonstrate an effortless ability to grab the headlines, may be playing a blinder with the flamethrower, too. While the company continues to take thousands of orders, he surely knew it would create controversy and perhaps end with him being “forced” to withdraw it from the market and refund customers. And by that time, a lot more folks will know about The Boring Company.
For now, plenty of people are hitting the company’s website to order the flamethrower, which, incidentally, can also be bought together with a Boring Company fire extinguisher.
A video posted on Instagram shows Musk running toward the camera while activating the fire-spitting device, which admittedly seems more blowtorch than flamethrower. In a message underneath, he wrote: “Don’t do this. Also, I want to be clear that a flamethrower is a super terrible idea. Definitely don’t buy one. Unless you like fun.”
But for many people, including Santiago, the product is nothing to laugh about, and he’s now setting about trying to ban it.
From caps to … flamethrowers?
So how did we get here? Well, to raise funds for his ambitious tunneling venture, Musk’s Boring Company recently sold a bunch of branded caps at $20 apiece. When they sold out at the end of last year, the CEO promised he’d follow up with a flamethrower. True to his word, the contraption, which looks rather like a modified Airsoft rifle, showed up on the company’s website on Saturday, January 27.
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