Just so you know, I'm not a 2nd Amendment nutjob, although I believe in the right of citizens to own firearms. However, I do think we have a problem. We have a popular culture that glorifies violence (Rambo, Terminator, movies with graphic depictions of the effects of being shot, violent video games, etc.) I personally own a single shot .22 rifle that was my father's. I would love to be able to go target shooting with it. But, my state is so paranoid about all weapons that I have to have permission just to walk out the door with it. But, I also don't think it's necessary for the general public to own automatic weapons. There is no real need for them, whether for hunting or sport.
If you want to have fun shooting one, go to an open gun range where you can rent the use of one for fun. You don't need one in your home. I can see allowing collectors to own such things because they're attracted to the technology that helped create and improve them. People have passions and not all passions lead to violence. Some people love steam engines. Others love old cars. And others love firearms. There is no easy answer. Current gun control doesn't work. Chicago, where no one was allowed to own guns until recently, is loaded with gun violence. How did gun control help there? It didn't. There needs to be a better answer - one that doesn't punish the law-abiding owner of firearms. They've basically created a new class of criminal - one that turns otherwise law-abiding citizens into felons simply because they own a gun that was legally purchased.
I know there will be strong and divisive thoughts about this and I do understand. But, honestly, a gun CANNOT hurt anyone without someone else making it. Nor can a car or a knife or any number of objects that have been used as weapons. We expect people to use objects in an appropriate manner, not thoughtlessly, recklessly or irresponsibly. Yet, virtually every case we've heard of lately has been caused by careless people who simply didn't think of negative consequences (leaving loaded weapons where children can reach them, allowing them to play with real guns - guns aren't toys, not checking to make sure the gun isn't loaded before using it as a crutch or before cleaning it). If you can't treat them with the respect they deserve and teach your kids that they ARE lethal when used improperly, then you really shouldn't have them. Plain and simple.