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How SNL's Seth Meyers Inspired a Hilariously Named Bill on Flamethrowers

A bill seeking to regulate the sale of the incendiary devices needed a name. Something with oomph.
Photographer: Christopher Murray/EyeEm

Eliot Engel, a Democratic congressman from New York, is a big Saturday Night Live fan and an even bigger fan of former “Weekend Update” anchor Seth Meyers. He also thinks flamethrowers are dangerous. These are the salient facts behind what is surely the best-named legislation in the history of the U.S. Congress—a bill (H.R. 4009) recently introduced by Engel called the “Flamethrowers? Really? Act.”

The bill, which would regulate flamethrowers like machine guns, came about after Engel discovered that flamethrowers are unregulated in all but two states, Maryland and California. You can even order them through the mail, a fact that left Engel incredulous. “It’s not something I’d thought about before,” he admitted, “because you’d just assume—right?—that flamethrowers would be regulated. It just causes you to scratch your head and say, ‘Really?’”