I think I remember that way back when, WallMart didn't sell them. I think you are right that the ban and having leftists want to ban them all the time, plus movies, has made them a must have rifle. So much so that there are a lot more owners now than back during the first ban.
A quick trip to the mighty Wikipedia offers the information that the first AR-15s were sold in 1959!!!
That makes the basic design almost 54 years old!?!
I’ve got news for the media and all gun grabbers, the technology IS old and barely qualifies as a modern military armament. Whether we still use it for such is not my point.
The point is that the cat is way out of the bag on these guns being mainstream all over the world. Just like the 1911. Hint: The model number is not random. ;)
Manufacturing technology has long ago surpassed the point where government has any logical argument to attempt to contain the availability of something that can be made in any basic CnC machine with the proper pattern.
In short, firearms themselves are rapidly turning into caveman tools by today’s standards. As common as the personal knife has been for thousands of years.