There have been many gun forum threads debating the safety of keeping your home defense weapon loaded and easily available. People with children must take different options than the rest of us. However, most agree that a unloaded gun is no better than a paper weight and that's the side I take since my kids flew from the nest long ago. Recently I saw a old American Justice rerun about Richard Rameriz (sp?) , the "night stalker" who killed about fifteen people in Kalifornia. The fourth victim was a lady that he had tied up while he ransacked her house. She managed to work lose of her bindings and retrieve a shotgun from under the bed that they kept for home protection. She lowered down on Rameriz and pulled the trigger,.... twice (they didn't say, but it was probably a double barrel shotgun). Nothing happened, it just went click.... twice! Rameriz shot and killed her with a 22 pistol then proceeded to try to cut her heart out, but couldn't get past the breast plate, so he cut her eyes out and took them with him. He went on to kill about eleven more people before he was caught. The reason the night stalker was able to kill the fourth victim, and eleven more people, is that her husband had unloaded the shotgun when their grandchildren had come to visit several weeks before. Apparently he never remembered to reload it. I can't imagine how that poor woman felt when she heard those clicks or the guilt her husband must feel. All my home defense guns are loaded and within easy reach while I am at home. When company comes over I taken the necessary precautions, but when they leave, things return to normal quickly. Oh yeah, as a side note the brilliant Diane Fienstien, who was Mayor of San Francisco at the time, held a press conference where she disclosed clues the police were using to try to track down the night stalker. The police were horrified! Rameriz made adjustments and went on killing people. The good citizens of Kalifornia thought Fienstien was so brilliant they went on to elect her to the Senate. Way to go Kalifornia!!