Many people, especially in the North East, are not aware of the culture in the many gun friendly states and have no reason to be aware of them. Maryland is not overly hostile to gun owners but many states in the area are, and living in the area you would most likely be exposed to the prevailing attitued, all your life if you grew up there.
The fact that you seem willing to listen to the "gun nuts" and and not disparage their point of view seems to show a class some here have failed to show you. The culture in gun friendly states is that it is not a big deal, and everyday occurrences reinforce the attitude. Arizona is one of the most gun friendly states there is, in fact, no permit is required to carry a gun, openly or concealed, by anyone not legally prohibited. Texas, my state, only allows people to carry concealed, and then only with a permit, but I digress.
So thank you for having an open mind on the issue, it is very rare since guns and gun violence is such a polarizing issue. If you don't wish to subscribe to the gun culture that is fine, just as we do not force everyone to subscribe to the vaping culture. I commend your attitude and willingness to look at other people's points of view, even if they are not native to you.