United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- Sometimes, anti-Second Amendment legislation can be beyond pointless and almost to the point of satire. One such bill is HR 2671, titled the Flamethrowers? Really? Act, introduced by Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY).
Now, one reason this bill is flying under the radar is that flamethrowers just haven’t been misused in crimes, nor have they been in the news. In addition, Engel is not exactly known for pushing gun control, although he has a terrible voting record.
So, what is up with this legislation? According to the text, it regulates flamethrowers like machine guns. The real answer is that it is a very diabolical trap for Second Amendment supporters. A trap that mirrors the ones that have been used in the past 35 years, sometimes to significant effect in convincing our fellow Americans to back the unjust infringements of liberty that the likes of Michael Bloomberg want to inflict on us.
To understand the nature of this trap, we need to go back to the 1980s. Back then, anti-Second Amendment extremists were making a lot of noise about “cop-killer bullets” and “plastic guns” in order to gain traction after California rejected a handgun ban in a 1982 referendum. Handgun Control, Inc. drafted some very poorly-written legislation that ended up being far more sweeping than they let on.
Naturally, Second Amendment supporters opposed those laws, but HCI used that opposition as the basis for propaganda using police chiefs. Eventually, legislation was passed that minimized the damage. Still, the groundwork had been laid for the push to ban modern multi-purpose semiautomatics using fear and propaganda, especially by separating the robust Second Amendment supporters (like NRA and GOA members) from the larger gun-owning community.
Flamethrowers are another round in this strategy – or at least, it seems like Representative Engel is going to try to use that strategy. Oddly, he has not issued a press release touting this legislation, although he has introduced it in past Congresses. It was discussed on MSNBC in 2016. But this legislation is still out there, and this discussion is worth having.
Most AmmoLand News readers probably don’t have a burning desire to own a flamethrower. At the same time, AmmoLand readers also have no problems with law-abiding citizens having the right to own one. Like the consumer-ready XM42 Handheld Flamethrower – and only two states (Maryland and California) regulate them. This is understandable.
Again, when was the last time you heard of a flamethrower being used in a crime? You haven’t. Why? Because flamethrowers are even bulkier than modern multi-purpose semiautomatic long guns. Also, they can be quite hazardous for the user, especially against armed opposition.
So, Second Amendment supporters should be calling their Representatives and Senators and politely urging them to oppose this needless legislation. That is a given. But there is a much more important task – one that can turn the tables on anti-Second Amendment extremists.
They need to talk to their fellow Americans, using this legislation as an example of how anti-Second Amendment extremists are approaching the issue in bad faith. Once fellow Americans are aware of how they are being manipulated, it will be easier to persuade them to oppose efforts to strip us of our rights.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics, and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.