I agree that machine guns will one day be a rich mans hobby, if it isn't already
And wasn't that the whole point of the NFA 34?
the 1986 Hughes amendment just put the cork in the bottleneck, so to speak.
A new Tommygun sold for about $125 at one time, and was one of the most expensive guns on the market (one reason they didn't sell many). Especially in a time when someone earning $20 a week was considered to be fairly well off (not rich, but above average working wage).
Now add a $200 tax on the gun, each time it changes hands. Forget for a moment about all the additional costs (in money or time) of the paperwork, investigations, signoffs, etc. Just the tax alone meant that very quickly, only the wealthier segments of population would be able to afford ownership.
I believe the whole point of the law(besides providing employment for Federal agents who found themselves without a function after the repeal of Prohibition) was to make the guns as expensive and burdensome to own as possible, while still leaving a legal pathway ("loophole") to ownership.
Other than the GIs who picked up and brought home captured enemy weapons, owning machineguns has always been a rich man's hobby. Once upon a time, those simply fairly well off could manage it, but today, with legal full autos selling for whatever the market will bear (+$200 every time), AND with our dollar worth only slightly more than the paper its printed on, its a rich man's game, more so than ever in the past.
And that's what they want. They couldn't get the votes to take them away, but they could get them made as rare and expensive as humanly possible.
And remember, all it takes are a few strokes of a politician's pen, and that legal machinegun that is worth as much on the market as a new luxury car today, can become virtually worthless overnight. Either way. If we could get the registry reopened, the value of currently registered guns would plummet. And if they become banned (or more likely, future transfers forbidden, or restricted to only licensed collectors and police/govt) the value of them could drop to virtually nothing as well.