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Automatic Ammo Vending Machines with AI Begin Operating at Grocery Stores

The machines do not limit how much ammunition a customer can buy.

American Rounds, an automated ammunition dispenser company, has installed what is being described as “ammo vending machines” at multiple grocery store locations in Alabama and Oklahoma. The machines reportedly sell a variety of shotgun, rifle and handgun rounds, according to KOCO 5 News in Oklahoma City.

While firearm sales face certain federal restrictions, ammunition remains largely unregulated in the U.S. Still, the Gun Control Act requires purchasers of ammunition for rifles or shotguns to be 18 years old.

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KOCO reported that a buyer must be at least 21 to purchase ammunition from the dispensers. However, in lieu of a clerk who can check a buyer’s age, American Rounds’ website states that the dispensers use AI technology, including facial recognition software and card scanning, to verify a customer’s identity. Transactional data is kept, but the company does not share information that is collected during the purchase. 

According to American Rounds CEO Grant Magers, the machines do not limit how much ammunition a customer can buy, KOCO reported. But the company can remotely shut down any unit and any time if a shooting threat is in the area, Magers said in an email to IEN.

The ammo vending machines are available at Fresh Value grocery stores in Pell City and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Super C Marts in Kingston, Lindsay, Noble and Wetumka, Oklahoma. Additionally, KOCO reported that the company had begun operating dispensers in Texas and Colorado. 

However, the Tuscaloosa location encountered resistance as ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama, reported that Fresh Value removed the machine on July 3.

The action followed a pre-council meeting that questioned the legality of the dispenser. The city’s legal department concluded that the machines are legal if installed in retail businesses with appropriate zoning. 

ABC 33/40 cited a Fresh Value grocery store manager who said the machine was removed due to a lack of sales.

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