As a person who was introduced to guns many years before I ever picked up a camera, I completely understand the reasons for owning and loving (to own) guns. The mechanical perfection, the sheer weight and feel of the thing. Loading and firing a gun is exhilarating. The sound, triggered by a gentle pull of a finger and the sight of a brief flame is something you never forget after the first shot (think of that relative who still relates the story of the one and only time he or she fired a gun).
A camera offers equal pings to our human psychology. The feel of cold aluminum, magnesium and brass. The mechanical perfection, infinitely more complicated in the modern camera, satisfies even the most zealous of gun owners. The gentle manipulation of a shutter button mirrors the gradual pull of a trigger (a integral skill of one wants to have good aim). Even the controlled breathing techniques an expert uses in firing (a gun) and firing (a camera) are the same.
Now for the differences.
A gun-turned-camera enthusiast, trades the deadly science of ballistics for the majesty and beauty of the science of optics. Since Galileo, optics and glass have given people the power to view objects across unimaginable distances, as well as the microscopic world literally under our noses (think where medicine would be without optics). Optics allows us to create art, or if we wish to create a record of our daily lives. Light and glass are beautiful in their own right and a brief google search reveals the extent of peoples enthusiasm for lenses and cameras. Ballistics has given us space travel, sure, but it also gave us gun crimes, gun accidents, animal poaching and war.
A gun-turned-camera enthusiast trades destruction for creativity. In all 50 states, it is perfectly legal to shoot an animal. You can hunt for food, or for recreation (trophies) but there is no getting around it, if you use a gun, you will have destroyed a living thing. If you used a camera, you have captured the beauty of a living thing and left it alive and intact. Only you can decide for yourself the degree your conscience allows for such destruction. For example, shooting a deer for sustenance is considered conservation while slaughtering almost every individual of a species (think American Bison), is a shame we as humans narrowly escaped. This dilemma can be avoided by choosing cameras over guns when it comes to our hobbies.
A gun-turned-camera enthusiast discovers that unlike guns, in the world of cameras, there is opportunity for real personal growth. Firing a gun takes some degree of skill, yes, but it is largely all about the effect with slight emphasis on intimidation and (the illusion of) protection. Cameras open the door to personal expression, creativity, influence, power, even employment. Also, you can really get into cameras. People are still making cyanotypes, tintypes, shooting film (large, medium and small format) and digital photography is very much still in its infancy. If one chooses, cameras offer what guns do not, personal growth without the cost of life.