AAFES reverses 'high-capacity' magazine ban

Matt Saintsing
March 12, 2018 - 11:06 am

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The Army & Air Force Exchange (AAFES), which operates department stores on military bases, has reversed its decision to pull “high-capacity” ammunition magazines from PX shelves across the country and will reintroduce these products as early as next week, an AAFES spokesperson told Connecting Vets.

“Based on input from authorized Army & Air Force Exchange Service shoppers, the Exchange will resume sales of magazines with a capacity of 11 or more rounds,” stated Chris Ward, a senior public affairs manager for AAFES.

“Feedback from active-duty, Guard and Reserve Soldiers and Airmen has highlighted the criticality of high-capacity magazines as it relates to readiness and proficiency.”

Last week, AAFES pulled the sale of ammunition magazines from all post-exchange (PX) locations across the country. Two sources at two separate major U.S. Army installations confirmed that the decision was made by AAFES headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

That decision was made to bring AAFES inline with Marine Corps Exchanges (MCX), a spokesperson said last week. A salesperson at Camp Lejeune, N.C. said that they haven't carried any "standard capacity" ammunition magazines since 2013, when MCX changed their policy. A miltiary standard capacity magazine is 15 rounds for a 9mm pistol, or 30-rounds for an M-4 rifle. 

However, what they didn't do was stop selling magazines that came with these types of weapons. 

Navy Exchange did not immediately respond to comment on their firearm and ammunition magazine policy. 

There was an outcry on social media, and it appears that engagement may have had an impact. AAFES “has been honored by the vocal acknowledgment of the value the Exchange benefit provides Warfighters,” added Ward.

Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia prohibit sales on what they deem to be “high capacity” ammunition magazines. AAFES firearm sales fall under the purview of state law, including firearm accessories and other equipment, such as magazines and clips.

However, AAFES’ now-reversed ban impacted service members and veterans who shop at a PX in states without such a law. In other words, a soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, for example, would be able to purchase an 11-round magazine off post, but not a military installation.

Ward said “We thank customers for sharing their thoughts regarding the necessity of firearms accessories.”