In my opinion, flamethrowers are one of the coolest weapons in human history. They always look pretty bada** in spy movies, they're intimidating in war movies, and having the ability to wield fire could make anyone feel like some kind of superhero. If used responsibly and in a safe environment, I can totally understand why someone would want to play around with one.

In 2018, flamethrowers skyrocketed in popularity for the "common man" as multi-billionaire, Elon Musk, began selling a limited number of flamethrowers under the name "Not a Flamethrower. These were sold for a pretty reasonable price of $500 and to no one's surprise, he sold all of his 20,000 units. What might be surprising is he sold all of them in 4 days.

To be fair....there's a pretty massive difference between a real flamethrower and the Not a Flamethrower Elon Musk was selling. While both can still be dangerous and lead to massive fires, check out how big of a difference there is between Elon's flamethrower and a real one.

Are Flamethrowers Legal In Iowa?

According to Find Law, the following firearms are illegal in own in Iowa:

  • Offensive weapons
  • Machine Guns
  • Short-barreled rifles or shotguns
  • Any weapon other than a shotgun or muzzle-loading rifle, cannon, pistol, revolver, or musket, which fires can be made to fire a projectile by the explosion of a propellant charge which has a barrel of more than six-tenths of an inch in diameter
  • Any bullet containing any explosive mixture capable of exploding upon impact.

Iowa Legis 724.1 section 1-F fully says

Any bullet or projectile containing any explosive mixture or chemical compound capable of exploding or detonating prior to or upon impact, or any shotshell or cartridge containing exothermic pyrophoric misch metal as a projectile which is designed to throw or project a flame or fireball to simulate a flamethrower.

According to McCarthy and Hamrock Law, based out of West Des Moines, "The crime of possessing an “offensive weapon” can be charged as a Class D Felony. A Class D felony is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and a potential fine of $750 to $7,500, plus 35% criminal surcharge and court costs."

Unsplash - Tali Despins
Unsplash - Tali Despins

While a weapon used to project fire could be classified as illegal, CNN reports that owning a flamethrower is legal in most states, including Iowa. The Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives have “no regulatory function” related to flamethrowers.

While a flamethrower might seem like a fun idea to mess around with and/or to be used as some type of tool, it obviously can be very dangerous and cause a lot of damage very quickly. Even Elon Musk himself told people to "not buy this flamethrower" and he didn't really spend that much time on it. According to Elon, his creation was not technically a flamethrower, which allowed for them to be sold. He talked about the idea on the popular Joe Rogan podcast 4 years ago.


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