The market for fiirearms seems to be essentially normalized. In fact, last week, a local pawn shop was advertising the lowest commercial price for AR-15 rifles I've ever seen -- at about 600 bucks.
The fact that rimfire ammo remains the most difficult type of ammuntion to find on the market is particularly interesting. My interpretation is that this market scare was a profoundly broad spectrum cultural phenomenon, in which the heaviest draw downs in ammunition stocks closely approximated the pattern of firearms ownership in general. It doesn't seem to be the case that narrow segments of gun owners drew down stocks of ammo related to select guns within holdings of multiple types of guns. Instead, it appears that practically anyone and everyone with a gun felt that their rights to arms were threatened and tried to lay in a stock of ammo for whatever it was they really enjoy shooting, or whatever weapon they rely on most in emergencies.
And Americans have had to rely on privately held guns for their security far more commonly than mainstream media, in general, are willing to admit.
The best of police response times in major urban areas remain, and likely always will remain, far too slow to stop the vast majority of violent crimes already in commission. Investigations and arrests are fine, but I would much prefer to be alive than to have my murder carefully investigated. For that matter, I'd rather die fighting than suffer the indignity of being slaughtered like an animal, regardless of what the police can do when they show up. Guns can help you to save your human dignity even when having one doesn't save your life. And basic human dignity is a basic human right of its own worth protecting.
Rural areas often have police response times slow enough that a protracted gun battle could easily be waged before they arrive. i once waited 45 minutes for deputies to take custody of a gang banger I had to hold at gunpoint with a family friend after he broke into her home. Important military firefights often take less time than that to fully play out.
And then there are the disasters, natural, man-made, and combined, that upend American lives with fair regularity. These events usually totally overwhelm law enforcement assets on hand. Much of the time, common decency prevails and the thin law enforcement presence simply lucks out, along with the rest of the people affected. But all too often, criminals run riot in the aftermath. And when they do, it's arguably the guns in the hands of the locals that keep them from simply looting, burning, eating and raping the entire area into oblivion.
Whatever the motivation, this ammo scare ran deep and wide in American culture. It means something important enough that we really should make a serious effort to understand it