Having grown up in Indiana, and with family in rural Illinois (where the itinerary for a family reunion in 2014 included a trick shooting show and a two-hour block of time for “introduction to firearms”), I know more than a few people for whom owning guns is a significant part of their lives. When I’ve asked an ex’s father or a second cousin why they hunt or maintain a collection of firearms, they’ve typically said something about growing up with them in the house, or that they were the focal accessory in bonding time with a mentor.
That’s also the gist of several comments in this discussion thread I found. This passage in particular shows a striking dichotomy of early exposure to guns:
I have an extremely negative memory for my first experience with a gun. My older cousin (who was about 16 or 18 at the time) tried to shoot me. I was about five years old.