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Flame Thrower - legality of ownership


jdmyprez_deo_vindice
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jdmyprez_deo_vindice

I doubt this is the right place to place this but I was not sure where to put it. I was recently offered the chance to buy an authentic WWII flamethrower. I would kill to have it but the concern I have is in regards to the legality of ownership. I am finding conflicting reports about this. The ATF information that I can find is not all that clear. I also spoke to two gun shop owners and got two different answers. One told me that they are totally illegal to own while the other told me that they are not considered a firearm and thus there is no federal regulation preventing ownership and that only a few states restrict them. So does anyone here have any experience when it comes to buying these items or know enough to point me in the right direction? I would kill to have this item but I do not want to put myself or my family at risk just to add an impressive piece to my collection. Thanks in advance.

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hbtcoveralls

According to Charlie Hobson, who is the foremost authourity in the world concerning flamethrowers, the BATF has determined that flame projectors are not firearms. They are somewhat like airguns, but there is no specific license requirements to own, transport or use a flame projector.

Please be careful before purchasing a flame projector. Many of the devices for sale today have been assembled from de-milled parts (they most often make axe cuts in the tanks and slice up the wand into several pieces) which can make them impossible to actually fire. Sometimes they are "restored" cosmetically so that you might not see that they were de-milled. You may not ever want to fire yours, but the difference in cost of a working model and a display model is enormous. Also just because it isn't de-milled, that doesn't mean that is is capable of funcitoning. Charlie has told me that a large amount of the original tanks that he hydrostatically tests (Charlie is the only capable individual with the depot maintenence equiptment to do complete overhauls on GI flame projectors) fail due to poor wartime manufacture and poor storage after the war and since. And if the unit fails, I certainly wouldn't want it on my back.

I've been #2 man on several flame projector shots and there is nothing like it. Certainly worth the expense and effort, but before I lay out the cash for a flame gun I would definately consult with Charlie Hobson in Saracuse NY.

Tom Bowers

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Cobrahistorian

I'll second Tom's post. I've been working with Charlie for a year now on two M1 flamethrowers that we had in the collection here. Charlie's a great guy to deal with and THE authority on not just US, but ALL flamethrowers. Thanks to Charlie we now have an M2A2 and an M1 on display in the museum. If you need his contact information, drop me a PM offline and I'll get it to you.

 

Jon

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Dirteater101

Really?

 

I was told by a class 2 (machine gun/ destructive device manufacturer) that the were classed as a "destructive device" along with live hand grenades,cannon over .50 cal and mortars....

 

However I think these are a $5 tax "AOW" (any other weapon) stamp item.

 

When in doubt call the BATF&E. They would be the one sending you to prison if the gun store owners are wrong. Just make sure you talk to a supervisor, they seem to have their heads sufficiently removed from their rectum when considering weaponry.

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El Bibliotecario

I would never take the word of anyone working in a gun store on a legal issue--the contradictory answers you've been getting speak for themselves.

 

Rather than call the BATF, I would write them and get a response in writing. I know, letter writing is so old fashioned--but my sense is that some BATF agents make up the rules as they go along, so it is to ones advantage to have a record of what one was told.

 

From stories I've heard of inexperienced GIs with flamethrowers immolating themeselves in combat (with no help from the enemy) I'd rather cross the interstate on foot during rush hour than fire one of those gadgets, but to each their own.

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There was a Vietnam era flame thrower on the TV show "Pawn Stars" last night. They expert they had look at it said it was legal to own because it had a hole punched in the tank, so it was non-functioning. He said they are legal to own if this is the case, nonoperable. The also said that an example from WWI-WWII could be worth as much as $12,000! So if I were you, I'd buy it.

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I would never take the word of anyone working in a gun store on a legal issue--the contradictory answers you've been getting speak for themselves.

 

Rather than call the BATF, I would write them and get a response in writing. I know, letter writing is so old fashioned--but my sense is that some BATF agents make up the rules as they go along, so it is to ones advantage to have a record of what one was told.

 

From stories I've heard of inexperienced GIs with flamethrowers immolating themeselves in combat (with no help from the enemy) I'd rather cross the interstate on foot during rush hour than fire one of those gadgets, but to each their own.

 

 

I received an email from NFA Branch this morning, flame throwers are not regulated by the ATF.

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There was a Vietnam era flame thrower on the TV show "Pawn Stars" last night. They expert they had look at it said it was legal to own because it had a hole punched in the tank, so it was non-functioning. He said they are legal to own if this is the case, nonoperable. The also said that an example from WWI-WWII could be worth as much as $12,000! So if I were you, I'd buy it.

 

 

I would only recommend Pawns Stars as a source for bad TV and nothing else.

 

Two flame throwers were for sale at the last Show of Shows.

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Cobrahistorian

This is the unit we just got from Charlie. The back end of the wand is plastic, but otherwise, it is a real M2A2.

 

P1030325.jpg

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I would only recommend Pawns Stars as a source for bad TV and nothing else.

 

Two flame throwers were for sale at the last Show of Shows.

 

 

Im sure I know who one seller was.We travel to shows together.He had sold another in Iola last year and there are no restrictions.As I understand the tanks were punched on these when surplused or released from goverment use.

 

The pawn stars show monday evening was laughable.You could tell it was a VN era flame thrower and the wand was a cast copy as soon as the guy layed the wand down.

 

RD

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The pawn stars show monday evening was laughable.You could tell it was a VN era flame thrower and the wand was a cast copy as soon as the guy layed the wand down.

 

RD

 

 

Most people on this forum would know that but I'd put money on the fact that 99% of Americans would have no clue about it and would think it was real and illegal.

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This is the unit we just got from Charlie. The back end of the wand is plastic, but otherwise, it is a real M2A2.

 

Here is an M2A1 mod from the M2 and a test with just 12 cc fuel (fired over a torch to save igniters). I took forever to find a nice uncut one. A lot were put together from parts. Igniters are expensive and hard to find but they are still out there. They are fun but dangerous. Original tanks from WWII and Korea are thin. I believe Charlie said they are unsafe even if they hydro OK. I have looked at them and I believe him. I had a set of tanks made but that should be by someone used to making pressure vessles, familiar with fuels, regulators, check valves, pop off valves, etc.

 

I think in Mass they are refered to as "infernal machines" and banned. Maryland has a lot of "unique" laws so better check with the State AG's office.

 

Charlie brokers them for people and may have one if you email him at flamethrowerexpert.com site. Better to buy a tested one from him if you want to shoot it.

 

One of the forum members has a fantastic collection of flamethrowers and posted some pics at a show. Do a serch and I think you will find them.

 

1JflameT.jpg

 

FT51.jpg

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Flame throwers are legal depending on the state in which you reside. They are not regulated nationally, but could be on your state level.

 

Around here you can find flame throwers for sale in Tractor Supply for use in burning brush or other agricultural uses.

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Misanthropic_Gods

Flamethrowers are not regulated by the BATFE, it is considered "Agricultural Equipment" funnily enough. So no worries there, just be sure to get a letter from the BATFE and if you ever are firing it off and the Local PD stops you, pull it out and they should stop harassing you.

 

I have ALWAYS wanted a flamethrower...sadly I am a poor college student, but maybe when you get yours I can have a go? *nudge nudge*

 

Good luck man

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