>I recently had a home intrusion and now I'm thinking of buying a gun to protect my family.
The rec.guns FAQ has a section on this at http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VC.html
Also see the FAQ For First Time Handgun Buyers Whose Interest is Personal or Home Protection by Ken Grubb at http://www.tincher.to/guntips.htm
Please read, memorize, and understand Jeff Cooper's Four Rules Of Gun Safety at http://www.tincher.to/gunsafe.htm before you buy a gun.
A class would be good too. The NRA teaches some good ones. http://www.nrahq.org/safety/
Read police officer Massad Ayoob's book on the moral, legal, and practical aspects of armed self defense. "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob, ISBN 0-936297-00-1, available from Police Bookshelf at http://www.ayoob.com/snip
>I had very little warning of the intruders' presence in my house, so if I bought a gun, I would want it close by at all times. Perhaps sleep with it under my pillow or next to my bed.
If you are prone to nightmares or sleepwalking then you should lock the gun in one of the new quick-access safes while you are asleep. http://www.gunvault.com/
>But I have 3 children ranging from 2 to 13, and I'm worried about their curiosity - kids being kids.
You need to lock the gun in a burglar-proof safe while you don't have it under your physical control. Hiding it doesn't work, especially when you have children. Yes, the gun safe will probably cost more that the gun. Think crowbar-proof.
Bear in mind that although your children may be trustworthy, their friends aren't. And any group of children is much more foolish than the most foolish member of that group.
Also remember that every child gun death increases support for gun control, and the gun control lobby teaches children that "the only purpose of guns is to kill people." So you can predict what the anti-gun neighbor's kid will do if he gets ahold of your gun :-(
>So is it something else you have to add to your routine every day? Get up, get ready for work, lock gun away, lock doors and windows..... get home from work, put gun in easy reach again, go to bed.... repeat.
>Also, what type of gun is good for home defense? Shotgun, handgun, automatic?
Shotgun, revolver, or semi-automatic handgun are the three top choices. Shotgun is most powerful but if your home is cramped you may want something with a shorter barrel. YMMV and I am not an expert.
- Rex Tincher