Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, of the Detroit-area, is seeking a ban on the use of personal flamethrowers, which are apparently being sold online by two Midwest companies, in his city.
Throwflame of Cleveland and The Ion Productions Team of Detroit, claim their devices serve simple purposes such as recreational use, controlling weeds, destroying insect hives, clearing snow and ice, clearing brush and starting bonfires.
Fouts regards the proposed uses as "pretty spacious" and "silly", the Detroit Free Press reported. As such, Fouts seeks to ban the storage, use and possession of flamethrowers in the area because he believes the devices are inherently dangerous and can be even more dangerous in the wrong hands.
"You know something like this will be used by bad people for bad things," Fouts said, adding that he thought it was "unthinkable" such a device would be sold to the general public.
On the other hand, the two companies in question argue flamethrowers are legal in Michigan and most other states. They note that if people should be able to own one if they want one, and misuse can happen with any product.
"It's how a product is used that determines punishment for the operator," said Chris Byars, CEO and project lead at the Ion Productions Team. "Simply owning a particular product should not be a punishable offense. It's a matter of education and respect for safety."
He also noted it's "insulting and discriminatory" for a person to believe anyone who owns a particular product, such as a firearm or knife, is going to misuse it, according to Business Insider.
Warren City Council members are considering the mayor's proposal and are seeking what would be considered a flamethrower itself under it. If the proposal goes through, violators would face a misdemeanor charge that's punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.