For many children and adults, guns are a matter of curiosity. They are unaware of (or even worse, unconcerned by) the inherant danger of firearms. They may act out scenes they've seen in movies or on TV. In this case, disaster is close at hand.
Criminals want to steal your guns. They are a symbol of power, and an easy way to victimize the un-armed. In a worse case scenario, a criminal may access your unsecured weapon and turn it on you or your family.
Step 1: Gun Safes
Step 2: Trigger Locks
Step 3: A Few Inexpensive and Unusual Ways to Render a Firearm Temporarily Un-Fireable.
1) Take the bolt out and store seperately.
2) Take the cylinder out and store seperately.
3) Use a common padlock.
4) Disassemble gun, and lock in the trunk of 2 different cars.
Step 4: Final Cautions
Next, Check local, state and federal laws. Some areas require certain types of storage. (I actually know of a community, where it is an offense to carry an UNLOADED gun. The constable will stop and check you to make sure your gun is loaded!)
Lastly, If you choose to keep a loaded gun in the open, it is your responsibility to maintain control of it at all times. Many law abiding citizens (police officers, security personell, etc.) have left a gun on the nightstand, only to have it discovered by one of their childrens' untrained playmates. This is a tragedy in the making. Make sure this never happens to you!