We are thinking about buying a gun. We have never owned one before and I have only shot one about 4 times in my life once a year in the Air Force not counting the bb guns back when the city was not so big. We have 2 small kids ages 4 and 2. The gun shop I went to has been around for 40 years or so but they didn't really have any safety items just a gun lock that went over the trigger. I am really concerned about safety . I was thinking a gun lock then also locked up in a gun case but we would need to be able to get to it quickly for mean stray dog or fox racoon as I work and she stays home. I am not really worried about shooting big animals but need something that would at least get it to trun around. I think a large dog or coyotoe would be the biggest I would have to worry about expect for a stupid human. I was thinking of a 12 guage shotgun I have seen a few Mossberg 500 for about 200 dollars. What would be the least potent shell to buy and how would I know how far the pellets would go since we would need to test fire so we would not be scared of it when we needed to use it. We have about 65 acres of our family land we live on with an old overground pasture that goes downhill and then back uphill while still being on our property it is very densely overgrown. I could barely walk back there this past winter and would not dare to walk back there at this time of year as I can't see more than about 40 feet in front of me. I hear gunshots all the time out here and we have one of the bigger parcels in this section. Any help on the gun, shell and safety features would help alot.