I think your overstating fear being the main reason why the United States has the gun culture that it does. If most people really bought guns out of pure fear, they'd go for the cheapest and practical choices which is the case for some. For others it is also a hobby of collecting.
I think the main reason why Americans are so addicted to their guns is the constant fear mongering in the country. The fear of getting robbed or hurt. The fear of becoming a violent crime victim. Cause then you can only protect yourself with a gun. Doesn't matter how safe your surroundings and your neigbourhood are. This combined with the "it's my right to own guns" mentality. But also the fear of not being able to pay for hospital/med bills. The fear of foreign people. The fear of terror. The fear of other races. Combined with a lot of ignorance, an often really weird world view and a media that spreads fear 24/7. Not only an American problem of course but it's on a whole different level in the United States.
Rockstar is actually doing a good job of portraying America in GTA. While exaggerated of course, the portrayal of NPCs on the streets and the TV shows and especially the commercials are not far from reality. I was amazed when I visited New York for the first time a few years ago and watched TV in my hotel room. The commercials are full of fear mongering Insurance companies, debt settlement companies and pharma marketers. This, combined with a lot of often very stupid and dangerous patriotism. A fear cocktail par excellence. And with guns it's no different. The ratio between fear and patriotism is a bit different here tho.
There's all sorts of gimmicky or antiquated guns that are realistically outclassed with just about everything else available. But at the end of the day, people will still buy them. Not because of fear or out of percieved necessity, but because they can.
Of course there are those overly patriotic types who view guns as the only way to protect themselves from the government or have doomsday fantasies but they do not represent the mentality of all gun owners.
Yeah I see a lot of gun owners try to distance themselves from this type of ideology, but in the end they're still kind of benefiting from it any time they go to WalMart and pickup a long-gun with zero registration and simply a call to the ATF. I mean, any time you start talking about gun control, it doesn't really need to be an "overly patriotic" type to bring up their "right" to bear arms. There's too many gun owners that acknowledge the dangers of unrestricted access to firearms, but then when it comes down to limiting THEIR person level of access, it all becomes about their "right to bear arms" again. They want to have their cake and eat it too.
I mean I think one great example is any time someone likens it to getting a driver's license and operating a motor vehicle, gun owners immediately jump to the idea of "Well I have a right to defend myself," or, "I have a right to own this," and start trumpeting the 2nd Amendment. However, just moments before that, they will probably have admitted to taking a gun safety course of their own fruition because they recognize the dangers of just willy-nilly going and buying a firearm with zero training or research. So it's like while they will simultaneously acknowledge that guns are dangerous and that it's prudent to have training and be qualified to handle them, they will then also advocate for the ability for any dumbass to go to Walmart and buy one the same day he gets his Budweiser. 'Cause that's his right as an American!
I mean I don't intend to cast all 2A supporters in that light, but I think there are some gun owners who just stand behind the 2A as way to defend a position they know is stupid and foolish. They KNOW people shouldn't just go buy a firearm, get drunk, go out to the woods and shoot it for the first time without even setting up a proper backstop or whatever else kind of dumbassery leads to 20,000 odd self-inflicted gunshot wounds a year ( hard to tell how many of those are intentional though ). Meanwhile, they'll sit there and defend until they're out of breath the exact lack of sensible restrictions that allows that type of dumbassery to continue, but usually just shouting catchy buzzwords and quips they read in a NRA newsletter. 'Guns don't kill people, people kill people!' Kind of funny though how whenever someone dies in a drunk driving accident they don't say, "Cars and alcohol don't kill people, people kill people," but instead enact sensible legislation that limits how often people kill people with cars and alcohol.