Ammo vending machines offer

Ammo vending machines offer

Some grocery stores in the U.S. have something unusual in stock — 24/7 access to bullets. Texas-based company American Rounds is installing ammo vending machines in stores to provide around-the-clock access to firearm ammunition — a move the company says will “redefine convenience in ammunition purchasing,” while critics raise concerns about the risk of gun violence.

“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,” the company says. “…Our machines are as easy to use as an ATM.” 

The machines are available at half a dozen locations in three states so far: Oklahoma, Alabama and Texas. 

According to the National Rifle Association of America Institute for Legislative Action, those three states do not require a permit to purchase guns and don’t require gun owners to have licenses or register their firearms.

The company says “security is paramount” for its machines, which are equipped with AI technology that features “card scanning and facial recognition software to meticulously verify the identity and age of each buyer.” 

American Rounds CEO Grant Magers told the Associated Press that while the company is “very pro-Second Amendment,” it is also “for responsible gun ownership.” He said the machines require all buyers to be at least 21 years old, which is in accordance with federal law, and that buyers will be required to scan their driver’s licenses for age confirmation, which is verified with a facial scan.

“The whole experience takes a minute and a half once you are familiar with the machine,” he said, adding that there are plans to expand the machines in Texas and Colorado in the coming weeks.

Nick Suplina, senior vice president for law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety, told the AP that innovations such as the vending machine “are promising safety measures that belong in gun stores, not in the place where you buy your kids milk.” 

“In a country awash in guns and ammo, where guns are the leading cause of deaths for kids, we don’t need to further normalize the sale and promotion of these products,” Suplina said. 

It comes just weeks after U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy declared gun violence a public health crisis, saying it’s a problem that needs to be tackled “in the realm of public health, the way we did with smoking more than half century ago.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in June that the rates of gun injuries last year remained higher than levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among Black and Hispanic communities. Counties with severe housing problems saw “consistently” higher rates of firearm injuries, and rates of gun injuries in children and teens under 14 years old saw the “largest persistent elevation” last year, the report found. 

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