Santiago Flamethrower Bill Advances

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

(Sacramento, CA) – Earlier today, Assembly Bill 1949, authored by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), met the approval of the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a bipartisan vote of 6-1. AB 1949 seeks to minimize the sale and use of flamethrowers in California.

The measure was introduced in response to a late January announcement by billionaire inventor Elon Musk of his intention to sell a $500 flamethrower to the public.  On Instagram and Twitter, Mr. Musk was shown running around with a flamethrower (manufactured by one his companies, The Boring Company,) chasing after a cameraman. On both platforms, he called the item “fun” and mentioned it as a tool for an “impending zombie apocalypse.”

Because of Mr. Musk’s social media savvy and notoriety, he sold over 20,000 units worth $10 million in pre-sales in only a few days.

“I honestly thought it was a joke when I saw the news about this,” said Assemblymember Santiago. “This product, in the wake of California’s deadliest wildfire year in state history, is incredibly insensitive, dangerous, and most definitely not funny.”  

Upon introducing AB 1949 in early February, Santiago stated that “Like most Americans, I am in awe of Mr. Musk’s genius. But as President Truman and Stan Lee have taught us all, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’” The Assemblymember also noted that, “There are many times in which technology and inventions benefit society, but are not made available to the public.  We don’t allow people to walk in off the street and purchase military grade tanks or armor-piercing ammunition…I cannot even begin to imagine the problems a flamethrower would cause firefighters and police officers alike.” 

AB 1949 is supported by law enforcement and fire agencies across California.  The measure will be heard next by the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks.

The website for the sale of the Boring Company’s flamethrower can be accessed here.

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee and a member of the Public Safety Committee. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.

CONTACT: Jackie.Koenig@asm.ca.gov, (916) 319-2053