Where Should Parents Store Their Guns at Home?

Act 5: Criminology professor Gary Kleck argues that storing guns in safes could critically delay gun access.
3:00 | 01/31/14

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Transcript for Where Should Parents Store Their Guns at Home?
And now, we want to look more closely at some of the choices people face at home. About guns. Especially people who feel they need a gun at the ready in case an intruder comes and if they had to get it out of a gun safe it would be too late. 12-year old Kendra St. Clair is home alone in Oklahoma. She hears someone trying to break in the front door. Panicked, she calls her mother, Debra. I got a call from my daughter, and I said, "Kendra, get the gun and go get in my closet now." Reporter: The loaded gun, from the gun box by the bed, it wasn't locked because her mother wanted easy access in an emergency. Kendra takes the .40 caliber Glock, calls 911, and hides in the bathroom closet. I think they are in the house. Please help me. Please." Alright, alright. I understand. Do you still have your mom's gun there? Yes, I do. I have it in my hand. Reporter: Suddenly Kendra sees the knob of the closet door turning and for the first time in her life she fires a gun through the door. It kind of made me scared that I just shot somebody, and I was crying through the entire time. Reporter: She hits 32-year-old Stacey Jones in the shoulder, scaring him out of the house. Police arrest him a few blocks away and charge him with first degree burglary. And in another part of the country, there's Eric martin, St. George, Utah. He's in bed at 4:00 in the morning when a burglar breaks in. I rolled off the bed and reached into the nightstand and pulled out my gun. Reporter: He's wearing night clothes to show what it was like when he confronted the intruder, defending his fiancee and her son who are still inside the house. So, as I chased him out of the house, he tried to jump over the wall and tripped as he did, rolling to the ground. Reporter: And Eric martin says the gun held him there until the police arrived. Very important to me to be able to take care of my family. It's still there today, in that drawer, and it'll continue to be there. Three people shot during an early-morning home invasion. Reporter: There's a kind of paradox in America tonight, even as violent crime has dropped dramatically over the last 20 years -- people tell us over and over, watching local news, they know they have to have a gun at the ready to protect themselves. What is your name? This is mother who puts her son through regular training for what to do if an intruder comes. Back up! You don't have to shoot me. Back up! You don't have to shoot me. Reporter: And this mom who says she tries to tell her daughter the world isn't safe and that's why she has loaded guns on the kitchen table and standing against a wall. All those scary people? Those people want to hurt us. Reporter: Criminology professor Gary Kleck, of Florida state university, widely cited by the NRA, he estimates 1.6 million Americans use a gun for self-protection every year. And he says more than 97% of those who do emerge uninjured. For the average person, for the overwhelming majority of Americans who are not criminals, it makes them safer. Reporter: But you should know other experts dispute Kleck's Numbers about self-defense. So, what about his argument that locking up a gun, say in a gun safe, can take too long? You're kind of groggy. And your shaking hands have to implement that combination and finally get the gun out. That could be a critical delay. Reporter: This answer comes from the American academy of pediatrics and its 65,000 members. They say, while a safe might take longer, weigh that delay against the life of a child. You can't rely on anything to overcome a child's natural curiosity better than simply physically keeping the child away from a loaded gun. Reporter: Which takes us back to that mom who leaves her loaded gun on the kitchen table. As the cameras are rolling, her daughter has something to say to her. I want her to keep the guns so I don't have to see them. So you want me to hide it in the closet? Would that make you feel better? Okay. Why haven't you ever told me that? I have. Reporter: The daughter has another revelation -- when her cousin came over, they touched the gun. He deared you to touch a gun? And who did you tell? I didn't -- You didn't tell anybody because this is the first time I'm hearing this story. You're not in trouble, by the way. He, um, asked me and asked me and asked me not to tell you. Did you touch it? Mm, yes. Did you pick it up? No. And shame on me. I was here, and I let my guard down, and there were other kids here. So, now, I have to deal with that. Reporter: So, we turned to a professional, state trooper bill Fearon of New Jersey, who teaches firearm safety and agreed to show us what he does with his guns in his own home. So you have a safe? Right, yes. Reporter: And trooper Fearon says if you want a gun, anyone can learn to get into a safe quickly. So we put a clock on him. He hears something downstairs -- moves to the safe. Four seconds later he's punched in the sequence and has his gun. He loads it in another three seconds. Which means, in seven seconds the gun is in his hand -- he's armed ready for any threat. Police are on their way! Get out of the house I am armed, do not come up here. Reporter: He says have your protection, but minimize the risk to children around you. Bottom line is, if you take the responsibility on to own a weapon, you're responsible for the safety and handling of that weapon. Next -- the almost taboo question -- have you ever asked your neighbors if they have guns inside. We don't really talk about it. But it's the conversation that could save a child's life.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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