The title of this post is guaranteed to cause a spike in traffic, but I'm not talking about the type of gun control you might think. The kind I'm interested in is the most basic type of gun control: the control of guns by their owners. In several mass shootings during the past 20 years, someone with a serious emotional disturbance obtained their firepower by theft from an acquaintance or family member of unsecured or lightly-secured weapons.
I've published a few examples of careless gun storage here on my blog in the past. That's just a snapshot of a larger problem, though. Police officers investigate gun thefts with some frequency in which the security of the firearms is pretty poor: an unlocked door, a $15 key-on-knob lock meant for a bathroom, a window screen, and so forth. Guns demand a little more security than your collection of garden tools. I've seen plenty of tragedies and crimes committed when Junior helped himself to an unlocked gun in the household of his parent, grandparent, or friend, or when a disturbed person was able to get a hold of a firearm with minimal effort.
Here's what I suggest for gun owners: at the bare minimum, your firearms should be secured with a trigger lock. Better yet, use a gun safe, preferably one strongly mounted to the floor joists with some major lag screws, or (even better) to concrete with hefty anchors. I'd prefer the thief require something like a reciprocating saw, rather than merely a good-sized screwdriver. I like combination locks better than keyed locks. Anyone who thinks their 12 year old can't figure out where the hidden key is located fails to recall their own skill at the same age in finding mom and dad's hiding spots. If you worry about quick access, their are plenty of lock boxes that will provide rapid access and at least a little bit of security, too.
Gun safes and lock boxes aren't a panacea. The cheapest are easily defeated with hand tools, and as with everything, the good ones tend to be expensive. A decent box for a pistol or two will start at around $150, though, and still provides a fair degree of protection from a hurried, worried, and not-so-bright thief. If you can afford a firearm, you can afford a proper storage solution. A skilled thief with with a cool head (and even an amateur with plenty of time) and access to a tool box may be able to steal guns even when stored in a good strong box--but for protecting your guns against the less organized, less competent, and less determined, a gun safe is pretty, well, safe.