Freedom Feels Different in a Red State: Alabama Launches Ammo Vending Machines

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

In the world of retail modernization, this story is number one with a bullet.

Is there anything more 20th-century American than vending machines? They revolutionized life in the 1900s. By 1890, New York City had placed automated chewing gum dispensers on its railway platforms; soft drinks were delivered by mechanical means in 1937; and back in the social Stone Age, Americans used machines to secure their cigarettes.


In the U.S., all the following have been procured courtesy of mechanized merchants:

  • Fish bait
  • Blu-rays and DVDs
  • Lottery tickets
  • Cologne
  • Books
  • Stamps 
  • Cupcakes
  • Life insurance
  • Condoms
  • Over-the-counter drugs

Person-free peddling appliances have also gotten political. In California, machines have meted out marijuana; in heavily Democratic Connecticut, they've dealt abortion drugs. But red states have their own ways of revolutionizing life for the masses. And in the southeast, the self-service industry has gotten a 2nd-Amendment-themed update. 

From Wednesday:

Two grocery stores in Alabama...have an automated vending machine that dispenses ammunition.

The boxy, high-tech bullet brokers -- constructed by a company called American Rounds -- use facial recognition to confirm each buyer's identification. Once a photo ID is received, a 360-degree scan is performed.

Such news calls to a defining difference between regions of the country. For years, Californians have had to undergo background checks to acquire ammo. The political machine there seems stacked against those who relish the right to bear arms. Meanwhile, AL is the opposite of LA.

RELATED: Alabama Passes Law Protecting Gun Owners From De Facto Private Sector Firearm Registry

And where might firearm owners in the Yellowhammer State acquire their vended cartridges? The grocery store, of course.

More from

The machines can currently be found at Fresh Value locations in Tuscaloosa...and Pell City... The company plans to expand to other locations in Alabama as well, according to CEO Grant Magers.

Magers said the Pell City store approached the company about installing one of the machines, thinking it was a “good opportunity for their customer base.”


Sometimes you just need some milk, eggs, and 9mm 115-grain jacketed hollow points.

In a promotional video, Fresh Value COO Terry Stanley claimed a win with store patrons: 

“Anything that we can do to help them make their shopping trips easier. Based on the feedback that we’ve gotten from customers...they are so excited about us having this ammo kiosk."

Innovation in the realm of munitions sales makes sense; thanks in part to 2020's riots, the gun market hasn't exactly waned:

Trigger Warning: To the Horror of the Mainstream Media, Soaring U.S. Gun Sales Break Another Record

Hot as a Six-Shooter: Gun Sales Continue to Soar as Dems Find Their Strange Place in the Chaos

American Chaos Triggers Impossible Demand as Smith & Wesson Reloads

Number 1 With a Bullet: Americans Keep Their Gun Grab Going, but Some Companies Are Shooting Blanks

Another Fiery Year: Survey Reveals More Than 3 Million First-Time Gun Buyers as of Mid-2021

To be clear, Alabama isn't the first state to see a machine that bestows bullets. Eight years ago, Fort Worth's Shoot Smart chain introduced the first such convenience to be offered at a Texas shooting range: 

But Alabama appears a pioneer in adjoining guns and groceries. 

Not everyone fancying a Fresh Value favors the high-caliber kiosks. In July 4th on-air coverage by Birmingham's WVTM, one local man disapproved: 


"If you're a responsible person, you don't mind walking up to a counter and saying, 'Hey, I need some .380 ammo'... And if it takes you an extra second or two, so be it. You're dealing with something that could take someone's life."

And stop the presses -- there's been some very recent recoil. On Friday, WVTM competitor ABC 33/40 reported the Tuscaloosa machine is being benched:

[T]he legality of the machine was questioned during a pre-council meeting on July 2nd. 


During the meeting, Councilman Kip Tyner said; "I got some calls about ammunition being sold in grocery stores, vending machines, the vending machines. Is that? I mean, I thought it was a lie. I thought it was a joke -- but it's not."


As to Councilman...Tyner's question about whether these machines are legal? The city of Tuscaloosa's legal department says they are, provided they are installed in retail businesses with appropriate zoning.

Per ABC, the manager of a different Fresh Value location claims Tuscaloosa's kiosk has suffered from lackluster sales.

Regardless, Oklahoma has followed Alabama with American Rounds installments in supermarkets.

Will AI-equipped ammo vending machines spread like birdshot? In red states, maybe. In woker places, such installations would see grocery stores requiring trigger warnings.


Whatever the fate of robotic bullet sales, surely we can all agree: In the not-too-distant future, things are going to get weird.


See more content from me:

Turn Your Head and Cough: College Course Teaches Male Trans Students How to Hack and Sneeze Like Ladies

The Woke Is Strong With This One: New 'Star Wars' Project Features a Nonbinary Jedi

UCLA Med School Students Are Taught That Modern Science Is 'White Science' by Pro-Hamas Lecturer

Find all my RedState work here.

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