Pond, it seems you have not priced safes.
A portable lockbox will keep your small child away from the gun, but will not keep a teenaged thief from taking lockbox, gun, and all. Typical lockbox is $20-$40 USD, but is useless in the context of this discussion.
(Edit: Lost the key to one; took it to a local gunsmith; took him less than two minutes to open the box; less than ten minutes to both open the box and make me a new key.)
A lockable cabinet, such as a Stack-On, goes from $99 to $399 depending on size. It can be defeated in minutes by a screwdriver, or in seconds by an axe.
The cheapest true safe I had was $600 on sale, and was primarily 12 gauge steel. It had seams that would be susceptible to a hammer and chisel, and panels that could be defeated over time by an axe or grinding tool. It was not less expensive than a decent used gun; at 600 lbs it required delivery; and I had to have both floor space to store it and floor strength to support it.
My current safe, as noted earlier, is much tougher. It also weighs 1000 lbs and cost $3000 USD.
So I suspect you might be underestimating the costs of safes, or overestimating the security of lockboxes and cabinets.
Last edited by MLeake; January 26, 2013 at 08:47 PM.