I'm from what we've always called "upstate" New York, but there are those who live further upstate that call it "central" New York. It's very regional here. I've also lived in Manhattan, KS;in the middle of the bible belt. There are nice people in both places, there are also assholes.
As for your concerns about guns, in my neck of the woods (literally), guns are for hunting. There are some people who own a pistol or rifle for protection of their land/ property. The further south and west you go (IMO and from personal experience) the more likely you are to notice people carrying guns on them, but not every "American" carries a weapon.