Gun Vending Machines: A Controversial New Way to Buy Ammo in the US

In a controversial move aimed at making ammunition readily available to gun owners, three US states have introduced bullet vending machines at grocery stores. These automated kiosks, similar to drink vending machines, are now available at some shops in Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Manufactured by American Rounds, these machines operate 24/7, allowing customers to scan their ID and purchase bullets for their weapons without having to wait for store hours.

The company claims these machines are “as easy to use as an ATM” and are “free from constraints.” Their website states, “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.”

These bullet vending machines employ “built-in AI technology, card scanning capabilities and facial recognition software” to match the buyer’s ID to their face, ensuring they are over 18 years old. To make a purchase, customers select the desired ammunition on the machine’s touchscreen, scan their ID, and collect the bullets from a hole at the bottom of the vending machine.

American Rounds plans to expand the availability of these kiosks to districts where hunting is popular, such as Louisiana and Colorado. In a promotional video, the company showcases a customer in a motorized wheelchair using the vending machine, raising their fist in the air and shouting: “It’s ammo? Whoo!”

The introduction of these vending machines has sparked concerns, particularly in light of the alarmingly high rate of gun deaths in the US. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Alabama, one of the states with these machines, had the fourth-highest rate of gun deaths in the US in 2022. A staggering 25.5 deaths per 100,000 people were caused by firearms in the state, resulting in a total of 1,278 fatalities.

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