Cleanup on Aisle 2A: Gun Controllers Melt Down Over Ammo Vending Machines in Grocery Stores

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

For something that's available at only a handful of grocery stores in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Texas, American Rounds' Automated Ammo Retail Machines are getting a lot of national press... and now the vending machines are drawing the ire of the anti-gunners as well. 

Kris Brown, head of the gun control group Brady, is among the anti-2A activists melting down over the new machines. On X, Brown bemoaned the idea of the machines, calling them an example of "gun industry greed." 

This isn't greed on display. It's entrepreneurship. American Rounds found a niche in the market that could be filled by their vending machines, and so far it looks like their bet is paying off. 

There were plenty of gun owners, by the way, who responded to Brown's post by pointing out that her claims about gun violence being the leading cause of death for kids and "young people" is only true if you massage the statistics to exclude every death of kids under the age of 1, and include 18-and-19-year-old adults. 

Around the clock access? I don't know about you, but there aren't any 24-hour grocery stores anywhere near me, and that's been the case ever since COVID back in 2020. Even Walmart closes at 11 p.m. in Farmville. As it turns out, the Fresh Value grocery stores in Alabama that are home to the Automated Ammo Retail Machines close at 8 p.m., as is also the case with the Super C Marts in Oklahoma. If the operating hours are the only concern for the Illinois gun control group, they have nothing to worry about. 

Of course, that's not their only or even primary concern. Like Brady, they're opposed to anything that might benefit the average gun owner. 

Brady is doing its best to ramp up fears over the new vending machines. In a press release, the anti-gun group "sounded the alarm" over American Rounds' offerings, warning that the machines "make it recklessly easy to immediately purchase deadly ammunition at your local grocery store without necessary human interaction or oversight."

Stores that choose to host these vending machines may face criminal charges or civil liability if they sell ammo to individuals prohibited from possessing ammo and guns.

Kris Brown, President of Brady said: “The gun industry wants to treat guns and ammo like they’re candy from the checkout aisle – even as guns remain the leading killer of kids and teens in this country. It’s reprehensible, but it’s not surprising. In their rush for profit, the gun industry will stop at nothing to make the sale of guns and ammunition as easy as possible – even if it means making them as accessible as a can of soda. 

“I want to be clear: Grocery stores that agree to host these vending machines are not only putting their customers and communities at risk. They are also opening the door to criminal charges and legal liability.

“We need to remove these machines from our grocery stores, and we need to do it now.”

Despite Brown's hyperbole, you can't buy any ammo from one of these machines unless you first present an ID and have your identity confirmed via facial recognition software. Have you ever had to do that when buying soda or candy at the grocery store? 

What's truly reprehensible here is Brown's fearmongering; intentionally misleading her supporters into believing that these machines are dispensing ammunition without any kind of age verification. As for her assertion that "we" need to remove these machines from grocery stores, I'd say that's up to the folks who run these stores. I doubt that the same management that willingly embraced these machines will bow to any kind of pressure to remove them from their stores in Second Amendment-friendly states like Alabama and Oklahoma, but I strongly encourage Brown to waste her time and energy on this crusade. The gun control lobby's already shown itself to be an enemy of our fundamental civil right to keep and bear arms. Might as well add free enterprise to their list of activities they'd like to prohibit.