Wired has reported that "the first-ever flamethrower-wielding robot dog" is now available for purchase. A company called Throwflame says that the Thermonator is a "quadruped robot with an ARC flamethrower mounted to its back, fueled by gasoline or napalm." The robotic device can even be controlled through smartphone, and shoot flames up to 30 feet.

But while one may ponder what they would need such a thing for, you may ask if flamethrowers of any kind are even legal in New York state?


Modern flamethrowers were first introduced into combat in 1915 by Germany during World War I, though their roots go all the way back to the Byzantine Empire in the 7th century AD, says Wikipedia.

The Geneva Convention of 1983, "partially restricted the military use of incendiary weapons". Flamethrowers are classified as incendiary weapons and are regulated by the Geneva Convention, which prohibits the use of any weapon designed to set fire to civilian targets, says Coffee or Die.

Civilian Use 

Today, they are more used for such things as ground clearing or controlled agricultural burns, ice and snow melting and clearing, incinerating weeds, and pest control, says the Throwflame website.

Are Flamethrowers Legal in New York State? 

Some results on the internet may appear a bit conflicting, according to a few posts on Reddit, but flamethrowers are legal in New York state.

See Also: Are There Still Wolverines In New York State?

According to Throwflame, flamethrowers are "federally unregulated tools and are not considered a firearm by the ATF". They remain legal in all but a few states. Wired says that the state of California has enacted restrictions on flamethrowers, and they are banned outright in Maryland except if you have a Federal Firearms License.

However it appears you are free to own one in New York. World Population Review adds that states like New York "permit flamethrower ownership without the need for special permits or licenses."

According to Wikipedia, Throwflame's founders reported in 2015 that "Seventy percent of our market is farmers using flamethrowers agriculturally".

Attempted Bans 

Of course, the state has tried to ban them before. In 2019, NBC had reported that the New York State Senate had passed a bill that would have made possession of a flamethrower a felony. The bill was never signed into law.

The attempted ban was a response to a promotional stunt by Elon Musk's The Boring Company, which had previously run an online advertisement selling 20,000 of their "Not-A-Flamethrowers" at $500 each in just a few days.

See Also: New York Lawmaker Pushes to Ban Wild Animals Like Elephants or Whales as Pets

Other startup companies had begun selling flamethrowers to civilians as far back as 2015.

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Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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