Guns are merely an object. Your interpretation of what they mean - their symbolic meaning is a cognitive act.<quoted text>
Guns could be a symbol of independence.
Independence implies freedom from something (one could just as easy interpret guns as a symbol of dependance)- its all in your head according to ones world view.
If your world view is that the world is an unsafe place, then obviously you would interpret gun ownership as a way to make that place safer by giving yourself a degree of independence from existing conditions. If your world view is that the world is a safe place, then one could equally interpret gun ownership as an unnecessary complication into your life, and therefore a burden and a dependence upon a crutch to make you feel better.
Its all about creating predictability of one's "world" around them. And that "world" is more in one's head than anywhere else, IMO.