US Grocery Stores Introduce Ammo Vending Machines

Additional Coverage:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A new development sees ammunition being sold via automated vending machines in grocery stores across Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas, allowing customers to conveniently purchase bullets while shopping for everyday items like milk.

American Rounds, the company behind this initiative, says that these machines come equipped with identification scanners and facial recognition technology to confirm the buyer’s age, making the purchase process as simple as using a tablet. However, there is concern from some quarters that this method could exacerbate gun violence in the U.S., highlighted by the 33 gun-related deaths on this year’s Independence Day.

The company argues that their age-validation technology provides security that matches or exceeds that of online or physical store purchases, where age verification might be more easily circumvented or ignored.

“Our approach is grounded in supporting the Second Amendment responsibly,” CEO Grant Magers commented. “We appreciate those who invest time to understand our objectives rather than jumping to conclusions.”

Despite the rolling back of firearms-related mass killings from 39 in 2023 to 15 so far in 2024, critics argue against the normalization of ammunition sales in everyday settings. Nick Suplina of Everytown for Gun Safety points out, “Such innovations in secure ammunition sales should be restricted to gun stores, not mixed with family shopping locations.”

These vending machines, introduced by Texas-based American Rounds in 2023, are already operational—with plans for continued expansion—providing ease and accessibility, particularly in rural areas that lack nearby ammunition retail options.

The process works by having the customer scan their driver’s license to prove they are at least 21 years old, followed by facial recognition confirmation. The transaction can be completed in about a minute and a half for those accustomed to the machine.

While similar vending machine technologies have been employed for items like alcohol and cannabis, bullet vending remains a contentious issue. Especially when considering past instances where age verification failures by online retailers led to tragic outcomes, safety remains a critical concern.

Read More About This Story: