You’ve probably heard this one before: What’s the best way to make a small fortune in the gun business? Start with a big fortune.
There’s more truth than humor there. It isn’t easy to make money in the gun business, which is part of the reason why I find the generosity of the industry so humbling at times.
But even by the standards of this giving industry, Henry Repeating Arms stands apart. I’d like to say that the company’s president, Anthony Imperato, puts his money where his mouth is, but I’m not sure how he even affords to feed himself. When I try to tally the number of guns he donates to worthy causes, and the funds he ends up raising to protect our rights and to support the future of the shooting sports, I’m at a loss to explain how Henry stays in the black. In Bayonne, New Jersey, no less.
I was at the NRA banquet in April the night he presented a series of veterans with their own lever guns. And it wasn’t just a couple of people. There must have been 30 servicemen and servicewomen on that stage before he was through. These vets represented every branch of the military and included folks who were still serving and fighting to those who represented us in every conflict going back to the Second World War.
I don’t wish to embarrass Anthony, who is a friend of mine, but he could barely control his emotions during the ceremony as he recounted the sacrifices those men and women had made on behalf of our country. It was no publicity stunt.
But that was only the tip of the iceberg at the NRA annual meeting. At the show he donated numerous rifles to be auctioned off to benefit various groups within the NRA. All told these guns, which included the one-of-a-kind set of three Big Boy rifles pictured above, raised more than $100,000. Oh, and he’s also donating a custom Ford pickup that’s being auctioned off on gunbroker.com. Whoever wins that rig also walks home with a Henry Big Boy .44.
Anthony is also on the board of directors of the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance, a group that I’m honored to be a part of as well. His generosity with the YSSA is just as significant and heartfelt.
Now I’m not saying you should rush out and buy a Henry rifle just because Anthony is such a swell guy. But I am telling you to go buy one because they are amazingly fun rifles to shoot. If you haven’t had a chance to play around with a Henry lever gun, do yourself a favor and go try one out.
If you don’t end up grinning while spitting a stream of lead downrange with it on your shoulder, then call 911 because I doubt you have a pulse.