Proper firearms storage is an important practice for all gun owners and should be given a lot of thought. The mindset behind owning the firearm, the occupants of your home, and any local (nanny state) laws should be guiding factors as you make necessary decisions. Careless storage can result in tragedy and theft, but being overcautious could also render a firearm inaccessible if it is needed in a hurry for protection. Determining your home’s gun storage plan is a very personal decision and no blanket solution exists for all circumstances.
Not everybody owns a gun with personal protection in mind and their firearms are used predominantly (and likely rarely) for hunting or other sporting purposes. Others may have home defense in mind, but have never achieved the necessary proficiency to implement an action plan if it became necessary during a crisis. My recommendation to people who fit into either of the above categories is to keep their guns under lock and key. In my opinion, liability risks from unsecured weapons trump other variables in these situations.
My sincerest advice to those inclined is to own a firearm for protection and to obtain the skills necessary for proficiency under stress. In most cases this skill level can only be reached with professional instruction or police, military, etc. training. Once this is achieved I still recommend keeping all firearms in a safe except for the one(s) currently designated to be used in defense of home and property. These weapons should be under your direct control (by either thoughtful placement or worn on your person) in this role and not just left lying around where the worst could happen.
The only weapon immediately ready for defense is fully loaded and charged. Anything else is a joke or attempted compensation for lack of training or familiarity. Incidentally, one of the best plans for securing your primary defense handgun when it’s not going to be under your immediate control is in a small safe that’s readily accessible in the area of your home where you spend the most time. This about the only way the firearm can be safely stored while loaded. Other methods that require constant loading/unloading with the same ammunition should be avoided as this practice over time can cause dangerous over-pressure situations from bullet set back.
The interface between family members and guns is likely one of the most difficult equations to balance. Everyone wants to place full confidence in their kids, but misplaced trust can have the worst consequences imaginable. The individual maturity and friend/life choices that your child is making should be carefully weighed when firearm access decisions are made in the home.
Imagine how this man must feel after his grandson stole his pistol and used it to commit three murders! As if this wasn’t tragedy enough, predatory lawyers and their greedy clients are seeking to hold him civilly liable because of the manner in which he stored his firearm. We live in a disturbing time where once unthinkable acts of violence are commonplace and the character of many (especially young) people has greatly eroded. Proper securing and storage of firearms maybe one of the most important choices you ever make with your weapon.