In their latest attempt at useless, unnecessary “weapon” bans, the anti-gun (read: anti-freedom, anti-fun) contingent in Congress has proposed the “Flamethrowers? Really? Act.”
Introduced Tuesday by New York Democrats Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney, the bill would regulate any flamethrower capable of shooting a flame over six feet in the same manner as a machine gun. The new designation would make flamethrowers nearly impossible to own for anyone except law enforcement agencies.
The legislation was filed one day after Elon Musk announced that his new “flamethrower” had sold out of the first (and likely only) 20,000 unit run. Musk developed a rifle-like device that looks suspiciously like a roofing torch married to an airsoft rifle. Despite its questionable status as a bonafide flamethrower, Musk raised $5 million selling the gadget at $500 a pop.
At least 20,000 Americans have answered Engel and Maloney’s bill with, “Yeah. Really.”
Ironically, Musk’s flamethrower likely wouldn’t be banned under the new legislation. Based on the available video, the device doesn’t look like it shoots a flame more than three or four feet.
That can’t be said for other legitimate flamethrowers like Ion’s XM42 Flamethrower (reviewed in detail by GunsAmerica’s Jon Hodoway here). The XM42 can shoot a flame up to 25 feet for over 35 seconds with a full tank. It’s the real deal, but it would be almost totally banned under the “Flamethrowers? Really? Act.”
While the timing of the legislation appears to have been motivated by Musk’s device, Engel and Maloney have been after flamethrowers since at least last year. Engel propose an identical piece of legislation in 2017 that failed to get out of committee.
“It’s not something I’d thought about before,” said Engel last year, “because you’d just assume—right?—that flamethrowers would be regulated. It just causes you to scratch your head and say, ‘Really?’”
Despite Engel’s confusion, flamethrowers aren’t regulated for a reason. While you’d be hard-pressed to find an instance of a criminal use of a flamethrower, they’re commonly used for land management and snow removal, not to mention good-old-fashioned ‘merican fun.
The “Flamethrowers? Really? Act” has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. The committee is controlled by Republicans 9-7.