Vending machines have been around for a long, long time. You put in your money and pick what snack you want to munch on and it’s great! Nowadays you can also buy beverages (alcohol in Japan), condoms (in the bathrooms at your favorite watering holes), fishing bait, marijuana and most anything really. So a man named Sam Piccinini figured, ‘WHY NOT BULLETS?”
A 25-year police department veteran who now runs his own ammunition manufacturing and wholesale business, Piccinini, of Rochester, Pa., has two of his retrofitted vending machines at his local gun club. The machines, which sell nearly every caliber of bullet from .22 to .45, are doing a brisk business and, Piccinini said, other clubs want his machines.
“I have clubs lining up at my door wanting them,” Piccinini told FoxNews.com. “I have five clubs chomping at the bit, wanting these machines.”
Piccinini, who owns Master Ammo Co., a licensed manufacturer of ammunition, said he got the idea two years ago, when bullet shortages around the nation left members of the Beaver Valley Rifle & Pistol Club unable to buy the “non-jacketed” rounds preferred at most shooting ranges.
First, Piccinini asked local attorney Eugene Martucci if such a machine would be legal. Told such a device could be operated lawfully, Piccinini bought a vending machine and had some modifications made to it, allowing it to accept larger bills and credit cards and to hoist and dispense bags of .45-caliber Automatic Colt Pistol cartridges. He figures he spent about $4,000 on the first vending machine. He now has two of them at the club and a third ready to be deployed.
Just like cigarette machines, these machines have a sign saying ”You must be 21 years of age to purchase ammunition for use in handguns from this machine.” The club where these machines are don’t allow minors, unless accompanied by a guardian and has security gates at the entrance. Anyone entering must show their ID and so Piccinini feels that there is no risk of ‘illicit’ sales.
Piccinini says “It’s not like someone walking down the street can get in and buy ammunition,”
Selling bullets out of a vending machine, as opposed to over a counter, is “not a big deal,” said Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Washington-based pro-gun control group Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
“Ammunition is widely available at ranges to begin with, and we don’t take issue with that,” Everitt said. “If they put it in a school, call me back.”
The federal BATFE- (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) regulates sales of ammunition, and Piccinini has permits allowing him to manufacture, sell and even export guns and ammunition. Stephen Bartholomew, of the BATFE’s Philadelphia field office, told the BeaverCountian.com he had never come across vending machines that sell ammunition.
“This has been kept a secret, it’s nobody’s business, it’s our club, we can do as our members allow us,” Fortuna told BeaverCountian.com. “Legally, there’s nothing anybody can do about it.”
“The machine sells pretty much everything,” said Piccinini, “From .22 long rifle to .45 Long Colt and every standard caliber in between except .32 and .25 automatic. It’s got 380, 9, 38, 40, 45, .357 SIG. I manufacture all of it myself.”
Piccinini, who is running for Beaver County sheriff, a post he has twice sought unsuccessfully, believes criticism he has received for his brainchild will ultimately backfire and win him the votes of Second Amendment advocates in the March 19 Republican primary.
“Some people have been critical, but I think even more people support me and support the right to bear arms”
What a handy idea! It makes perfect sense and it’s in a controlled environment where responsible gun owners are club members.
So as soon as word gets out, look for the feds to find fault with it in 3…2…1..