Flamethrowers are an uncommon possession, and soon they may be illegal in parts of San Mateo County.
At its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, the county Board of Supervisors will consider an ordinance that would prohibit the use, ownership, sale, trade, transfer and distribution of flamethrowers anywhere in the unincorporated areas of the county.
The sponsors of the ordinance are supervisors Don Horsley and Warren Slocum. The board meeting gets underway at 9 a.m. in the board's chambers at 400 County Center in Redwood City. Click here for the board's agenda and here for the draft ordinance.
The ordinance would not apply to firefighting agency employees using a flamethrower in the line of duty, or to residents with permits to own flamethrowers.
In February The Boring Company, a California firm founded by Elon Musk, the chief executive at Tesla and Space X, announced plans to sell 20,000 automatic-rifle-like devices that shoot flames a distance of several feet. The devices sold out in five days, according to a February CNBC story.
The draft ordinance defines a flamethrower as a portable device "designed or intended to emit, or capable of emitting or propelling, fire or a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid" a distance of 22 inches or more.
The law would apply in the unincorporated communities in the county, including Ladera, Los Trancos Woods, North Fair Oaks and Stanford Weekend Acres.
Violations would result in fines: $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 for subsequent incidents within one year, the draft ordinance says.
If supervisors vote to approve the ordinance on Tuesday, they would need to approve it a second time, which is usually done at the next board meeting. The ordinance would become law 30 days later.