US introduces vending machines to sell bullets

An ammunition vending machine selling bullets in the US
An ammunition vending machine selling bullets in the US

Gun owners in three US states can now buy bullets from vending machines in grocery shops, after a company launched automated kiosks to make ammunition “more available”.

Some shops in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas now allow customers to scan their ID on a device similar to a drinks vending machine, and walk away with rounds for their weapons.

American Rounds, the company that manufactures the machines, says they are as easy to use as an ATM.

“Our automated ammo dispensers are accessible 24/7, ensuring that you can buy ammunition on your own schedule, free from the constraints of store hours and long lines,” it says on its website.

The machines use “built-in AI technology, card scanning capability and facial recognition software” to match a buyer’s ID to their face and ensure they are over 18 years old.

Customers select the ammunition they would like to buy on a touchscreen, scan their ID and collect it from a hole in the bottom of the machine.

Expansion plans

The company says it will continue the roll out of the devices in states where hunting is popular, including Louisiana and Colorado.

A promotional video for the machines shows a customer moving through a shop using the vending machines on a motorised wheelchair, before raising her fist in the air and shouting: “It’s ammo? Whoo!”

Alabama has the fourth-highest rate of gun deaths in the US, according to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2022, there were 25.5 deaths from firearms in the state per 100,000 people, with a total of 1,278 fatalities.

The Biden administration has declared gun safety to be a public health crisis, and is pushing states to adopt tougher laws on firearm ownership.

Joe Biden has called for federally mandated universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, although the measures are opposed by Republicans.

Grant Magers, the American Rounds CEO, said the company had received more than 200 requests to install the machines and that number was “growing daily”.

He told Newsweek that the company supported “law-abiding, responsible gun ownership”.

The machines are legal and store records of the transactions are kept to comply with regulations in some states.