Controlling who has access to your guns is fundamental to gun safety. Burglars are first and foremost, but think too about anyone else who may be in your home: children, visitors, babysitters, house-sitters, friends with spare keys.
The message of most anti-gun political groups is that guns are dangerous in anyone’s hands; guns are a threat to public safety and the only way to eliminate that threat is to eliminate all guns. These groups often attempt to characterize law-abiding gun owners as irresponsible at best, and evil at worst.
Tragedies and accidents involving guns are exploited by anti-gun groups to push their messages; even non-fatal gun accidents attract national and local legislative attention, especially those involving children. Regardless of how rare these accidents are, when guns are involved there will be media coverage.
While there is no federal legal requirement, 27 states and the District of Columbia have requirements that guns be locked up to prevent access to children, in some cases even if you don’t have children yourself. The penalties for allowing a child access to a gun vary in these states, but you may face criminal liability for negligent storage whether or not the child gains access to a firearm or uses it to cause injury. Check your local laws.
Remember that you may not have children at home, but from time to time may have young visitors like grandchildren, guests, exchange students, etc..
Even in cases where there are no children present in your home, many states require locking up your guns. Eleven states and the District of Columbia require some sort of locking device at some point between purchase and storage. One state and the District of Columbia require that all firearms are stored with a lock in place. California even has gun safe regulatory standards which must be met for the safe to be considered a California Department of Justice-approved firearms safety device. Check your local laws.
What are your guns worth to you?
Some of mine could easily be replaced or upgraded. On the hand, my grandfather’s WWII pistol has sentimental value that is irreplaceable. The first pistol I bought was a 1911 with a somewhat rare factory chambering. I bought a couple books and taught myself some gunsmithing, finally getting the trigger “perfect.” I would hate to have to replace it.
Many AR owners do a lot of customization over the years which would be time consuming and expensive to duplicate. Maybe you’ve built a precision rifle that shoots 1/2″ MOA and you finally have it perfectly doped after many hours at the range.