FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- (Oct. 12, 2012) The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is scheduled to begin firearms sales Tuesday. The firearms counter is located in the Sporting Goods section of the Main Store, and will retain the same hours as the Exchange.

According to Fort Leonard Wood Exchange General Manager Robert Rice, select AAFES locations have offered firearm sales since 1960.

"Locally, customer demand and the fact that Missouri has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts were the determining factors in the decision to make these products available at Fort Leonard Wood," Rice said. "This is just one of many efforts to deliver a complete Exchange benefit."

Customers who want to take advantage of this new amenity still have to undergo the process mandated by both federal and state laws to purchase a firearm from AAFES.

"The process to purchase these items is consistent with what you find at any local retailer offering firearms," Rice said. "For example, a background check and Firearms Transaction Record is required at both the Exchange and civilian retailers. If the purchase is made at the Exchange, the buyer will be advised of some unique policies specific to the transportation and storage of firearms on Fort Leonard Wood."

Rice said that Exchange customers who purchase a firearm will be provided with the information needed to prepare them to take responsibility for their puchase, as well as a few extra amenities.

With every purchase of a firearm from AAFES, customers will also receive a trigger or cable lock, an explanation of the basic firearm features and operations, a "Guide to Purchasing Firearms and Firearms Safety" with an explanation of key points, an explanation of applicable state and local regulations. Within the firearm department there will be installation regulations posted and a copy will be provided to the customer. Availability of local Firearms and Hunter Education Courses, and a Youth Handgun Guide will also be provided.

"At Fort Leonard Wood, advertisements for the US Army Combat/Safety Center Firearms Safety website are even available," Rice said.

Like everything the Exchange offers, firearms, accessories and ammunition purchased from AAFES are not subject to sales tax.

"Furthermore, all sales at Exchange facilities support Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs such as the Fort Leonard Wood Outdoor Adventure Center," he added.

AAFES will have a wide variety of firearms for sale, but the assortment will be based on market and regional demand.

"Here at Fort Leonard Wood, the Exchange will offer long guns, handguns and shotguns for self-defense and outdoor recreation," Rice said.

Customers can be assured they will receive excellent service and encounter knowledgeable associates working at the firearms counter to help with all of their firearm questions and needs, said Rice.

"Prior to working at the firearms counter, all associates and managers are trained on firearms familiarization, preparation of ATF forms, maintenance of the Acquisition and Disposition Record, controlling and storing firearms as well as selling and engagement. Certified associates are identified by specialized nametags that say 'Firearms Expert.' These associates are extremely well-versed and ready to assist customers with any of the products available."

With 55 AAFES locations offering firearms, accessories and ammunition around the country, the Exchange is uniquely adapted to meeting the needs of military shoppers who would like to experience Missouri's great outdoors, Rice said.

"The associates who work the Exchange's firearm counter are up-to-date on the latest developments concerning the products available and ready to assist customers interested in purchasing firearms for self-defense or outdoor recreation," Rice said.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service takes the responsibility of selling firearms and ammunition very seriously.

"Safety is the number one priority," Rice said. "The Exchange works continuously with federal and installation authorities to enforce and improve security procedures."