There are several tails attached to this beast, and I'm seeing that they're being addressed in clever ways these days. When it comes to this topic, I have several questions. How do you introduce firearm safety to young children? My meaning here is not only one of having children shoot so they know how to control it, but also one of avoidance for the younger children. How do you provide access to older kids so that they can become part of home defense? Can you safely provide access to an older kid, but also keep younger kids away from them?
Some of my kids are still too young to even sit down with them and give them an Eddie Eagle talk, but two of my kids are old enough for instruction, but are not really ready for live fire. In my day, my father and/or some of his trusted friends would give me firearm safety instruction, followed up with some .22 rimfire shooting. That was safe and effective, but the airsoft and pellet gun sounds like it's overall the best way to get kids trained on firearm safety. Some gun bloggers you may have heard about did just that, and provided an environment with many children at one time learning gun safety and how to shoot. Perfect! I missed out on the opportunity, but I plan on having my kids involved for the next one.
On the other end of the spectrum, having a well thought out plan for your older kids to defend themselves or the house while you're away is priceless. Here's a great example of a well executed plan that fortunately didn't include gunfire. Having a codeword that is only used during a no-B.S. moment of danger is good policy, and having your children disciplined enough to be trusted alone with access to firearms is what you want the end result to be. I have a long way to go before that happens in my house, but I pay close attention to those with older kids and how they do things.
Ultimately, you have to have some sort of plan. It's reckless and irresponsible to have firearms in the home and not tell your children about them. Most of the friends that I have grew up with guns in their house, and none of them had any accidents or injuries, and none of the guns were hidden. I can guarantee that you can't hide a gun from a kid for long. Education is the only way to fly, you just have to start.