Congress truly must have solved all of the world’s problems if they have time to fool around with this. Not content with coming to take away our guns, one New York Democrat has introduced (for the third time) a bill intended to ban private ownership of flamethrowers. Congressman Eliot Engel calls this legislation the “Flamethrowers? Really? Act.” (In all fairness, we have to at least give the guy credit for a catchy title.) And, as GianCarlo Canaparo of the Daily Signal points out, this bill is really nothing more than a solution in search of a problem.
For the third Congress in a row, Rep. Eliot Engel has reintroduced his Flamethrowers? Really? Act, which serves no purpose other than to highlight Congress’ overcriminalization problem.
The bill would make it a crime to own or transfer a flamethrower.
When the New York Democrat last introduced the bill in 2018, it attracted attention because it followed hot on the heels of inventor-entrepreneur Elon Musk’s marketing stunt for his tunnel-drilling company, the Boring Company. Musk sold 20,000 flamethrowers to advertise and raise funds for the company.
Musk joked that the flamethrower “[w]orks against hordes of undead or your money back!” Not to be outdone, Engel also created a tool to fight an imaginary problem.
Canaparo makes an excellent point in saying that Engel is trying to solve an imaginary problem. Why? Because of the absolute paucity of flamethrower related crimes in our country. As weapons go, it’s a terrible choice for anything other than dramatic effect and criminals don’t seem to have much interest in using them.
And do they really even count as “firearms” when we’re talking about gun laws? Okay… I’ll grant you that the name does sort of have a direct reference to “fire” right in it, but it’s still very different.
Next, even if we were to consider such legislation, what qualifies as a flamethrower? You’ll notice that the linked article makes reference to the bill last being introduced shortly after Elon Musk “sold 20,000 flamethrowers to advertise and raise funds for his company.” But allow me to speak from personal experience here. I happen to have one of Mr. Musk’s products sitting next to me as I write this. And it’s not a flamethrower. Look… it says so right on the box. (Click for full-size image)
Besides, at least here in New York, it doesn’t technically qualify anyway. A flamethrower is defined as a device that can project the flame more than ten feet. Mine only does sevenish at best.
But this should still be considered a Second Amendment question. Congressman Engel asks the question, “Flamethrowers? Really?” And I respond, yes, Congressman. Really. Please don’t put us in the position of being forced to say “come and get it.” In closing, a picture for the congressman straight from my back yard. (Also clickable for full size.)