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Elon Musk's Boring Company flamethrowers sold out in five days

By KEVIN MCCOY | USA Today (Tribune News Service) | Published: February 1, 2018

To hear Elon Musk tell it, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO's foray into flamethrowers was no flameout — he sold all 20,000 of the $500 units in just five days.

Announcing the news on Twitter early Thursday, Musk said the flamethrowers bearing the logo of his Boring Company tunneling and infrastructure venture would ship with a complimentary fire extinguisher.

The sellout would represent roughly $10 million in sales of the devices.

The tech entrepreneur made good on his offer to sell flamethrowers over the weekend after buyers snapped up 50,000 Boring Company hats.

Sales moved briskly from the start, Musk indicated via Twitter. By Monday alone, he said his company had rung up $3.5 million in flamethrower sales. Buyers may have been motivated by an Instagram video that showed Musk wielding one of the units and running toward the viewer.

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However, not everyone was impressed.

Arizona businessman Chris Byars said the flamethrowers sold by his Ion Productions Team company were bigger and better than Musk's. Ion's units have a reach of up to 30 feet, he said. If fitted with a backpack fuel unit, the flamethrowers can run continuously for roughly four minutes, he added.

"His entire unit is basically the starter torch for ours," said Byars, whose latest flamethrowers have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1,099 and a sale price of $899.

Byars suggested that Musk should buy his company, an idea that apparently failed to catch fire with the tech entrepreneur.

There are no federal regulations against domestic manufacture or use of flamethrowers, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed in an email statement this week. However, California prohibits flamethrowers that have a reach of more than 10 feet, while Maryland has a total ban.

Musk got heat from California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat who said he would introduce legislation to block sales of Boring Company flamethrowers in his state.

"This subject matter, in the wake of the state’s deadliest wildfires in history, is incredibly insensitive, dangerous, and most definitely not funny," Santiago said in an email to The Washington Post. "Absolutely no public good could come from the sale of this tool."

©2018 USA Today
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