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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Really, Federal Government? You Don't Regulate Flamethrowers? Really?

An approved military use of a flamethrower in Iraq. An approved military use of a flamethrower in Iraq. Flickr user DVIDSHUB

Ever been so mad at something that you just wanted to just take a flamethrower to it?

According to Guns.com , “getting your hot little hands on one may be a lot easier than you think.” That’s because “there is no federal prohibition against owning a working one.”

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., was astonished to learn that, and wants to do something about the situation. And, as Bloomberg Politics reports , because Engel is a fan of “Saturday Night Live,” and especially its former Weekend Update host Seth Meyers, he’s called his legislation the Flamethrowers? Really? Act .

In case you don’t get that reference, it’s a nod to a recurring Weekend Update segment called “Really!?! with Seth and Amy,” the Amy in question being Amy Poehler. In the segment, she and Meyers specialized in skewering celebrities and politicians. Here’s an example:

For Engel, the theme fit the flamethrower situation at the federal level (only two states, Maryland and California, regulate the devices). “You’d just assume—right?—that flamethrowers would be regulated,” he told Bloomberg Politics. “It just causes you to scratch your head and say, ‘Really?’”

Engel’s solution is pretty simple, and included right in the title of Section 2 of the bill: “FLAMETHROWERS TREATED THE SAME AS MACHINEGUNS FOR PURPOSES  OF ALL FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAWS RELATING TO FIREARMS.”

Update, 10/28/16, 10:47 a.m.: Meyers announced his (tongue-in-cheek) opposition to Engel's measure on his "Late Night" show Wednesday:

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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