Hello every one: We recently moved to a nice neighborhood in a nice little town in Massachusetts. We had checked with local police before purchasing the house and were told that there was nothing to worry about. It turns out that that is not quite the case as there are a few rental housing units in the vincinity that are occupied by - shall we say- sketchy characters who are (pretty openly) involved with drug dealing. Supposedly that problem had been taken care of but it just so happened that there was a shooting recently. All the neighbors are now willing to claim our little village back by filing all sorts of paper work, getting involved with local politics etc. My wife now, somewhat surprising to me, mentioned that she may be intersted in buying a hand gun for a worst case what-if-scenario where the local thugs may start to be pissed off and go after people objecting to their line of business. I am personally not overly concerned as I find it unlikely but then again... So IF we seriously considered this I would put safety first (just like with anything else) as we have to small children. So the proper licensing (which is probably a pain here in MA...) and training would come first. So here are a few issues that I am wondering about. And I may add that I know really nothing about guns and have never fired one in my whole life. Honestly, I would even say that there is a certain element of fear involved which may or may not be a healthy emotion when approaching this. 1. Which gun for both of us? I don't see us purchasing more than one hand gun. We would need something that is easy and safe to handle for a left-handed woman and a right handed man. Though my first instinct would say semi-automatic, I read that revolvers tend to be better in that regard for beginners and for our purpose of offerning protection should any one intrude the house. What should I consider as far as weight, barrel length and all those other technical things go so that such a firearm could be easily used by both of us? 2. How to store it safely? You obviosly want to make sure that thieves and even more importantly our children will under no circumstances have access to a gun in the house. So a safe seems an obvious choice. However, how does that work in an emregency situation? Will you remember the code? Will you find the keys? And then assemble the gun? Where do you put the safe? Bedroom? Office? Upstairs? Downstairs? 3. Does a gun in the house call for stepped-up security all around? Such as an alarm, surveilance, motion protector?