What is different, of course, is that you can also use the gun to kill people and manage people's behavior. (At least, in ways that are less practical than with a pinball machine.) If I'm a store clerk with a gun pointed at me, that gun owner is my new manager and I will obligingly empty the till into his sack. I also believe that the vast majority of gun owners have a very sober and mature recognition of this. I know an avid hunter who couldn't enjoy playing paint ball because pointing a gun at the other players was distressing and went against his natural instincts.
As a rule, however, owners are comfortable with the guns themselves, if not downright fond of them. Most owners believe that they are both safe and facile with their use. The rabid poster child Chuck Norris not withstanding, your average gun owner is also your average citizen, complete with the very natural and human goal of protecting themselves and their family, as well as their property and ideals. How dangerous our world really is can be rather subjective but there are few places left that aren't touched by violence. With all that in mind, it would be almost crazy for a gun owner to not see that firearm as a friend and ally in defense of the many threats, both real and imagined, that lurk outside his door.
As it happens, my wife stands in exemplary contrast to my personal gun experiences. When I met her, she knew there was a middle America largely because it was a five hour flight from New York to Los Angeles. Her sole experience with guns were nightly reports of drive-bys, hold-ups and the usual urban mayhem. She grew up in a world where the gun had no charm and no ulterior motive. Rather, it had a singular and ugly purpose. Whether for good or ill, it is nothing more than a tool for killing another person. She had no warm summer afternoons of picking off coke cans and the only thing she's ever hunted was a cab.
Once, when she saw a shotgun on a table with barrel broken and no shells in the chamber (to the uninitiated, read "nonthreatening"), she grew pale and stiffened, as if she had stumbled on a coiled and hissing rattler. I remember her discomfort, many years ago, when there was a gun in our house even though it was unloaded, in a case, safely buried in a closet and no ammunition. Like the viper she spied on the table, it still, somehow, retained the ability to slither in the night and strike us in our sleep.