This is a program just like Food Stamps, where low income folks will have federal subsidies for access to quality firearms and ammunition. It is time to end the discrimination against low income Americans, from the alienation of their natural rights of self defense, and their Civil Rights, simply because they can not afford access to quality firearms, ammunition, and training. It is time for all Americans, not just wealthy Americans, to feel safe in their homes, safe in their community, safe in their stores and places of business, safe on the streets, in the parks, with their families, safe wherever they want to freely travel, and safe because they made themselves safe, all because of the federal “Gun Stamps” program.
The model for this is the Food Stamp program. They changed the name, and now call it the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (S.N.A.P.). Let’s call our program: “Permitting Educating Arming and Crime Eradication.” (P.E.A.C.E.). Or for short, just call it the PEACE Program. Guidance would come from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, on how they implement their Food Stamp program. People who are eligible for Food Stamps would also be eligible for Gun Stamps, so the programs should run in parallel in the Department of Agriculture.
The Food Stamp program is simply a money distribution program that has nothing to do with actual agriculture, and the Gun Stamp program is also a money distribution program, so the Department of Agriculture is the place for it. Since being armed is a constitutional right, it is a government responsibility to fund the Gun Stamp program for those so far disenfranchised from it, making it more imperative than the Food Stamp program, which is not a constitutional right. It would be easy to automatically register everyone in the Food Stamp program over 18 for rifles and shot guns, and over 21 for pistols and revolvers, into the Gun Stamp program.
The current Food Stamp program serves over 41 million people, 22 million households, and costs about $70 billion dollars. The maximum benefit per month in 2013 for a household of one was $200, and for a family of seven it was $1,052. In the interest of “fairness” the Gun Stamp PEACE program would be equally funded and would reach the same people by grandfathering them in, their eligibility having been already background checked. Granted children get the benefits of Food Stamps, and they can’t own guns. However children get the protection of those guns from their parents, so no reduction of benefits would be justified on that basis. After all, the protection of firearms afforded parents, is “for the children.”
A good quality, easy to maintain, police approved, handgun is the Glock 17. Its standard 17 round magazines have the capacity to adequately defend poor and minority participants in the PEACE program. With standard magazines, they shouldn’t have the added burden and stress of having to reload in most critical situations and emergencies they are likely to face, when family comes first. Therefore no “below standard,” anti-working family magazines would be acceptable. A Glock 17 is a strong and reliable firearm, it is easy to operate, easy to train how to use, and with basic care will last many years. This reduces the need for government replacement firearms, which lowers the overall cost of the program. The cost of the Glock is about $500. That means a household of one with a $200 a month benefit would be able to afford a Glock in 10 weeks. A family of seven could buy two Glock 17’s their first month with their over $1,000 Gun Stamp benefit. No longer would low income Americans live in fear in their homes, just because they are low income, even if they are in public housing, which would become “Full Access Self Defense Zones” (FASDZ) in order to fully utilize the program. This would be incorporated into the new “Public Housing Project PEACE Protection Program,” also known as PHPPPP.
The EBT card used for Food Stamps would be cross funded for Gun Stamps under the PEACE program, except that EBT would stand for Eligible Ballistic and Training (EBT). This card would also remove the stigma previously attached to Food Stamps, so that there would be no such humiliation when families go to gun stores to select appropriate firearms, ammunition, and accessories such as holsters, magazines, cleaning equipment, and other essentials. Families would not have to produce government printed coupons, but instead would pay like everyone else with their Eligible Ballistics and Training, EBT cards, at the local gun store where they would feel the most comfortable. Such cards would also cover the background check requirement and could serve as a national concealed and open carry permit as well. Since federal law is supreme, the Gun Stamp program could be used to harmonize local, state, and federal law such that no one’s rights will be violated by all the unconstitutional permit restrictions on May Issue, Shall Issue, and Open Carry, making them all Constitutional Carry under PEACE, and then nationally all self defense discrimination should end. To complete the process, all businesses and facilities that have previously oppressed the civil gun rights of Americans, would also be in violation of the discrimination and civil rights protections of the government PEACE Program, which would be enforced through the Second Amendment Department in the PEACE Program Office.
From the USDA website, the people who are eligible to apply for SNAP, who should also be eligible for PEACE include:
Working for low wages or working part-time;
Receiving welfare or other public assistance payments;
Elderly or disabled and are low-income; or
This will be true, equal opportunity, civil self defense. Like the SNAP program, people would be able to apply on paper, online, and by phone. Counselors would be available for assistance, and to make the best recommendations for armed self defense. This is where all questions of which firearm is appropriate, what various features mean, what is the right ammunition for various situations, and other questions essential for PEACE could be directed, as such information would be readily available. This is where the NRA could be a Partner for PEACE, with the USDA, and would save the USDA from having to develop the same level of firearms expertise for low income and minority Americans already available from the NRA. All the other eligibility criteria, rules, and resources available for SNAP would have their counterpart rules etc., in PEACE.
Also, with the expertise developed in so many government agencies currently stockpiling weapons and ammunition, and developing SWAT Teams and other armed security, this expertise would be invaluable in distributing arms and ammunition to the poor and disadvantaged who are participating in the government Gun Stamp PEACE Program. Also in training low income people new to the PEACE Program. Since nothing in the Constitution allows any agency or department of the Federal Government except the Department of Defense, all the government arms in every other department shall serve as the source for redistribution of small arms to the citizenry under the Gun Stamps PEACE Program. Many more such inter-agency cooperative initiatives are possible. This would be a great opportunity for public relations by talking to the public about “Defense Equality” between civilians and government departments. Defense Equality is where the citizenry is equally, or better, armed, than the government to whom the people are supreme.
Lastly, regarding the Eligible Ballistic and Training EBT card. Just as nutrition and other educational programs are available through the Food Stamp program, so the equivalent arms, legal, and operational training and education programs must be available in the Gun Stamp program. Designated instructors and facilities would be listed for participants in PEACE. Shooting ranges, police ranges, in fact a variety of existing private and government facilities could be easily incorporated into the program nationwide.
Rather than redistribute the unconstitutional arms currently maintained by a variety of Federal Government agencies, or after such arsenals have been given back to the citizenry, there should be a government contract to make a unique, inexpensive, but safe and workable firearm, which clearly is marked with a bright orange strip or other distinguishing characteristic. Such a gun might resemble the Glock 17 or 19, or other similar polymer, semi-automatic firearm. These guns will not be available commercially. They are only available to those in the Gun Stamp program. People in the program shall qualify quarterly on their firearm with their local police department, where their guns, magazines, and ammunition will all be accounted for. Selling or losing any component of a Gun Stamp award means being banned from the program and most likely criminal prosecution will result. It shall be a felony to sell, buy, or possess a government subsidized gun under this program, if you are not a documented, current participant in the program.