Skip to main content

AI-Powered Ammunition Kiosks in Supermarkets Stir Up Debate

Alabama store removes vending machine, while systems remain in place at 5 other retail locations
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
American Rounds - Instagram photo
American Rounds produces smart retail automated ammunition dispensers that verify a buyer's age. (Image credit: American Rounds Instagram)

There’s a lot of buzz around an Alabama supermarket that recently added an ammunition-dispensing vending machine. Last week, a Fresh Value store in Tuscaloosa, Ala., sparked headlines – and controversy – when its kiosk attracted broad notice. 

The freestanding machine from American Rounds was legal, according to Tuscaloosa civic and law enforcement officials, but has since been removed. The CEO of American Rounds, Grant Magers, told that it was a business call to pull the machine. “We are still happy to be working with Fresh Value, Pell City, and we have plans to expand with Fresh Value to their other location. The city of Tuscaloosa has been very supportive, and we are thankful for that support,” he wrote.

[RELATED: Arkansas Town, Grocer Grappling with Deadly Shooting]

Vending machines from American Rounds are in place at other grocery stores, including another Fresh Value location in Pell City, Ala., and four Super C Mart stores in Oklahoma. According to American Rounds, the retail systems are powered by artificial intelligence and use 360-degree facial recognition software and card scanning to ensure that customers are verified and validated to make the purchase. The systems appeal to hunters who are looking for fast and easier ways to access ammunition. 

Advertisement - article continues below

“One of the ways we are changing the landscape for ammunition sales is making it more available. Being able to move it into a place like a grocery store or supermarket makes it a lot more available to the public,” Magers explained in a video posted on the American Rounds site.

The company notes that transactions comply with federal and local laws. “We are committed to providing a secure environment that customers can trust for their ammunition needs,” the American Rounds website declares.

Several consumers voiced their concerns about the automatic ammo system, sharing sentiments with city officials and online via social media platforms. “I got some calls about ammunition being sold in grocery stores, vending machines. I thought it was a lie. I thought it was a joke — but it's not," said Kip Tyner, president of the Tuscaloosa City Council, during a council meeting.

Progressive Grocer reached out to American Rounds and Fresh Value but did not hear back at press time.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds