Michigan-made flamethrower legal, for now - WNEM TV 5

Michigan-made flamethrower legal, for now

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Popping a balloon is child's play. It's no weapon of war, not even a prop in movie. It’s a precise and destructive stream of intense fire for sale online for anyone who wants it.

“This is the first one that's grab and go, completely portable handheld unit," said Chris Byars.

It's called XM-42, a hand-crafted flamethrower made in an undisclosed location outside of Detroit.

"There's nothing like this on the market... I have a patent pending design that runs the internals," Byars said.

The flame shoots out nearly 25 feet and it lasts less than 40 seconds.

Byars said he designed it for entertainment purposes only. It's perfectly legal in 48 states, including Michigan. Anyone willing to pay $900 can have it shipped right to their front door, no background check.

“[It’s] always a concern, anything can be used negatively, anyone can get a hold of kitchen knives or whatever and use them but we've been promoting safety and responsible usage," Byars said.

Maryland and California are the only two states with restrictions on owning a flamethrower.

Byars said his device is great for melting ice on a sidewalk or burning a pile of leaves.

Hundreds have already shipped out and more than $300,000 in orders are awaiting shipment.

Byars said it's only a matter of time before tough regulations are placed on his creation as its popularity grows.

"Obviously, usage in a residential area is a high risk of collateral, wind could happen, spread, houses everywhere, but in an industrial setting or out in the country there should be no problem," Byars said.

There’s a one-month back-log for people desperate to get their own, because of their popularity.

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