So my house security system false alarmed a few days back, and I was on the work line when the monitoring company called my cell phone, so I could not tell them not to send the police. Once I looked up the phone number and verified they were a monitoring company, and then checked the web interface for my alarm system, I scrambled back home and arrived about the same time as the patrol car did. Externally, the house appeared fine, but since the police officer was already there, I figured it would not hurt to have/let him help with the clearing of the house – after all, he has that training.
No entryways were broken into, no windows were smashed, and nothing was so much as moved out of location; given that it was the basement motion sensor that went off, the cats might have managed to trip it, but it is supposedly capable of discriminating out anything under 50 pounds, and they do not mass that collectively. This is the third time the system has false-alarmed in our three years of home ownership, which I guess is not bad, but it is getting a bit annoying.
However, the police officer did have a few borderline-snarky things to say about my carry firearms laying around on top of my dresser (just as well he did not see the ones in the dresser), and, in fairness, he has a point. My safe in the basement might slow down a dedicated thief, but just laying hardware out in the open is certainly no deterrence at all.
By the same token, I am not going to disarm my bedroom entirely, nor am I going to bother tromping down to the basement every time I get dressed or undressed on the weekends, nor do I have anywhere acceptable to install a full-size gun safe in the master bedroom.
Which only leaves "bedside" or "handgun" safes. Which is a problem. Why? The majority of bedside / handgun safes are functionally worthless and can arguably be broken into by anyone with the most rudimentary of skills and tools. Now, in reality, unless we are talking about a four-figure safe bolted to a concrete slab, any given "safe" merely keeps the honest people honest, and keeps the idle, inquisitive types out, so the question becomes, "How much do you want to delay someone getting in?" I do not have kids, but I do have a rather noisy alarm system with a police response time of around 20 minutes, so the general idea would be to secure the handguns until the alarm convinced the criminals to leave; securing them until the police arrive is a bit unrealistic for this scenario.
So, what are the safe company recommendations? Are some companies safes less easy to pop open than others? And, if so, how hard it is it to get into in the middle of the night with the alarm waking me up? I would prefer a safe that does not require a key for entry – remembering where the key is, much less keeping it in a safe spot, just adds to the complexity – and while rotary dial safes are not high on my list either for accessibility, it seems they might be necessary for the "security" standpoint.
(Note: I completely and totally repudiate the specious notion that, if my firearms were to be stolen, I would be responsible for the criminal "being able" to do so. The simple fact is that by closing and locking my house, I have secured my firearms – if someone breaks into my house and relieves me of my property, whatever that property is, the thief is singularly and exclusively responsible for his actions. The other simple fact is that no home safe will stop a person interested in getting into it; the safe may slow the person down – which, after all, is the entire point of security – but this is one of the core problems with "safe storage" laws: the eventually result in you not being allowed to keep your firearms at home, period. I am only pursuing smaller safes now because I rather like the firearms I have accumulated, and I would hate to go to the trouble of replacing them.
All that said, I would point out that a single one of my ammunition cans is worth more, these days, than some/all of my firearms individually, and could be just as disastrous in the wrong hands. Strangely, you never see folks advocating much for the safe storage of that…)