Are things really that dangerous in North America? I live in a really high-crime country, and I cannot think of anybody I know, who sleeps with a loaded shotgun at the side of the bed. Perhaps some farmers - they live on very large, isolated properties.
I handed in my 9mm pistol and two shotguns for destruction, about 15 years ago, and cannot say I have missed them. A fair number of folk have handguns here, the problem is they are usually locked away when you need them, or else things happen so fast, it is all over before the safety can come off.
We are, of course, awash in illegal firearms. All your gun nuts who hanker after AK-47s would have a fine time dealing with our underworld.
A long-deceased family friend, who in his day represented this country in skeet and trap, had come home at the end of a long day’s competition, and had not broken his Perazzi shotgun down for cleaning and storage - put it in the cupboard and went straight to bed. During the night, he and his wife were woken by some noise. He got up, chambered a couple of shells and went to peek out the window. Nothing there. On turning around, he saw a figure moving in the dark, in the vicinity of the bedroom door. Knowing his wife was standing by the bedside, he figured an intruder had gained access to the bedroom, and left him have it with both barrels. There was a deafening roar, and the tinkling sound of shattered glass. Turned out, he had left the cupboard door open when he got out the gun, and the full-length mirror inside the door reflected his wife, moving near the bed. The interesting part was that none of the two sets of grandparents, or the four kids, woke up. In the morning, the guy asked his family whether they had heard any noise during the night. One child thought he had heard a muffled thump, but wasn’t sure.
Since those days, of course, the laws have changed. One is now more liable to get into trouble for shooting an intruder, than the intruder is for intruding - something to do with proportionate force.