Detroit-based company says it makes the 'world's first handheld flamethrower'

Southfield, Mich (WJBK) -- That's right, he has a flamethrower.  And for $700, you can have one, too.

It's called the "XM42" and they're made by Ion Productions, a Detroit-based company, who claims they're going to make "the world's first fully handheld, grab-and-go flamethrower on the market."

It was the idea of Chris Byars, a member of the Ion Production team.

"I've always wanted to own one and in 2007, we had the idea to thrown one together and make one.  Now, we are deciding to make one in mass production." Byars says his idea was partially inspired by video games.

Ion Productions put a funding project online and within 5 days they had raised $80 thousand from pre-orders.  The company has a prototype and is working out some issues before productions starts.

Flamethrowers have been around for years, used in World War II, and outlawed by the Geneva Convention for use during wartime.

Byars says it has tons of practical uses such as clearing weeds and melting ice and snow, but many interested parties are pyrotechnic artists who would use them for concert displays.

However, not everyone is thrilled with the idea of the mass-produce fire shooting weapon.

"Anytime you have fire, which is a dangerous thing in the hands of people who aren't prepared to use it, it always concerns you. It's a tool, not a toy and if you don't give people the proper training it can cause just devastating problems," says Northville Fire Chief Richard Marinucci.

There's nothing stopping you from owning one in Michigan, in fact, they are only illegal in Maryland and California.

The man behind the flamethrower stands by his product and believes people will use it responsibly.

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