In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced this bill to make it a federal crime to possess or transfer a flamethrower, writing the following on Facebook in 2016 after he introduced this bill’s predecessor:
“Last night on his show, Seth Meyers did a piece about my “Flamethrowers? Really? Act” which is a bill that would finally put some commonsense laws on the books when it comes to the sale of flamethrowers in America. Currently, only 2 states regulate the sale of flamethrowers, and no federal regulations exist of any kind (seriously). The title of the bill was inspired by the Saturday Night Live, “Really!?! With Seth and Amy” segments Meyers and Amy Poehler used to do, lampooning things that were so ridiculous, you couldn’t help but say to yourself, “Really?”
As op-eds opposing this bill in The Daily Signal and Reason note, the use of flamethrowers to commit a crime is “exceedingly rare” and the only apparent examples of their use occurred in Germany in 1964 when a homemade flamethrower was used by schizophrenic man to kill 10, and in Britain in 1995 to burn three. The Daily Signal column noted:
“If someone were to commit a crime with a flamethrower, there are plenty of federal and state laws that would prohibit and punish all of the harmful conduct that could conceivably result. So, there’s no factual or legal need for a federal flamethrower bill. Murder, manslaughter, and arson are prohibited and routinely prosecuted, in virtually every state. Indeed, they are some of the oldest crimes on the books.”
This legislation has the support of two cosponsors, both of whom are Democrats.
Of Note: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sold 20,000 flamethrowers at $500 each to raise money for his Boring Company infrastructure project. Flamethrowers have a variety of commercial uses, such as controlled burns for agricultural or fire protection purposes, roofers can use them when installing rubber roofing, and are used in rural areas to melt snow following massive snowfalls and to help emergency responders access locations during such snowfall.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: CHellyar / iStock)