I like the idea of those reforms with one addition. Allow new full auto weapons to enter the market even if you keep the 200 dollar transfer tax. It would bring the price for them down to affordable levels and allow many of the older and wearing out guns to be retired to historical conversation pieces.
I agree with you in principle. However, any attempt to open the books on full auto will meet opposition from several fronts. First would be all of the anti-gun folk. You think they have issues with "assault rifles" wait until the term REALLY encompasses fully automatic weapons.
Second we would face opposition from owners of Class III weapons. The moment a law is passed to re-open the books on machine guns the value of their weopons will drop. If I owned an M-2 or an M-60, and saw its value plummet to 1/10 of its previous value, I would be very upset.
Some Class III dealers would likely oppose the law as well. Currently the market for Full Auto is relatively unknown. It is obvious from the current prices that there is some significant pent up demand, but how much? Would sales volume increase sufficiently to make up for the loss of revenue? Some would be willing to gamble yes, others likely not so much. Class III dealers with significant stocks of pre-'86 machine guns would stand to lose a good deal of capital as well.
Additionally, you would face significant legislative hurtles. No lawmaker wants to take the risk of opening the books on machine guns. Restricting them is easy. The victims of restriction are largely invisible. The moment some dumb bastard shoots up a school, church, convent, or shopping mall with a belt fed weapon, any lawmaker who signed off on a bill easing restrictions would face a difficult re-election cycle. We want lawmakers in office who would be likely to vote for this type of bill, but actually passing it could be a disaster that has the potential set back firearms rights. 2A fundamentalists may not like this line of reasoning but it is a political necessity.
Finally, without some significant back up from the courts prohibiting the legistature from passing further restrictions as a result of some potential future incident with automatic weapons, a repeal on restrictions would make no sense and could be very counter productive. The most gun freindly members of the supreme court, Scalia and Thomas are both on record as stating that restrictions on machine guns are a type of "reasonable" gun law that they would support. Until the environment in the courts change, easing these restrictions could be a disaster for gun rights.
Again I would like to emphasize that I do not like the pollitical reality that surronds this issue. I strongly support 2A rights and believe that it truly is the God given right of every person to be able to defend themselves by the best means available including automatic weapons. I believe the responsibility for criminal acts lies with the criminal and not the tool. I also believe that the govenment over steps its authority when it does such things. The firearms laws in this country are, for the most part , an infringement on the plain reading of the Constitution and those who passed them violated their oaths to support the same. However, I also understand that my views are likely to be in the minority and I must act as such.