This article originally appeared on VICE US
New York City cops confiscated one of Elon Musk’s Boring Company flamethrowers from a Queens apartment building on New Year’s Day.
“Every day, our Emergency Service Unit responds to multiple calls for barricaded criminals and people in crisis, who they’re able to talk to & safely take into custody w/o using force,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted on Thursday. “That’s just what they did twice yesterday in the same Queens apartment building.”
The pictures attached to the tweet showed several bags containing unknown substances, a Glock handgun with an extended magazine, and a Boring Company brand flamethrower still in its original box. Elon Musk's Boring Company (which ostensibly digs tunnels for cars to drive through, because somehow this is better than trains) began selling the flamethrowers in 2018 as a promotional stunt. It only produced 20,000 of them and all of them sold. One of those 20,000 is now in the hands of the NYPD.
Flamethrowers can be legally owned and operated in most of the United States. There’s no federal prohibition against them and only California and Maryland have laws against them. Congress attempted to pass legislation against flamethrowers in 2018—H.R.4901, also known as the Flamethrowers? Really? Act—but the legislation died. A similar measure in New York State also failed to pass. And so, flamethrowers remain perfectly legal in New York City.
The NYPD did not respond to VICE’s request for comment on the circumstances surrounding this flamethrower’s confiscation.