An industry focused on the design and manufacture of firearms might not be where someone expects to find impressive acts of selflessness and charity, but perhaps they should. Not only is there a dedicated spirit of family in the gun industry, there’s also one of a willingness to give others the shirt—or the gun—off one’s back. Henry Repeating Arms is among the forerunners of the charitable efforts of the firearms world. A big part of that is the company’s charitable arm, Guns for Great Causes.
What is Guns for Great Causes?
As mentioned above, this is the charitable arm of the legendary Henry Repeating Arms gun company. The offshoot of the manufacturer’s main business was started in 2006; Henry itself can technically trace its roots—or at least its inspiration—to 1860, when Benjamin Tyler Henry designed The Henry Rifle. The Henry company itself was founded in 1996 and named in honor of the designer of the first Henry Rifle. It took the company no time at all to begin stretching into philanthropy. Extending into such a large, active charitable arm within a decade of the company’s founding is impressive. After all, it can take a business many years to simply begin turning a profit.
The central focus of the organization is raising funds for pediatric cancer patients, and this is often in very targeted ways. That’s not all the charitable arm does, though. Guns for Great Causes also helps veterans and is involved with conservation causes, Second Amendment advocacy and various other aspects of shooting sports. As they say, their mission is to “deliver monetary relief to families that need it and organizations whose missions align with the values we hold dear as a company.” That’s a rather simplistic summary, though. There’s so much more to Guns for Great Causes and the Henry company than what can be covered in a basic “About Us”-style write-up.
The What—and Why—of Donations
According to Henry Repeating Arms owner Anthony Imperato, the charitable arm was started years ago because he felt the company was doing well and that it should share its success. In addition, Imperato was tired of the overwhelming negativity from mainstream media and the way the media portrayed (and continues to portray) firearms and firearm owners. Imperato felt he and Henry were in a position to show the world how amazing the firearms industry is, and Guns for Great Causes was born.
The monetary value behind their giving is well into the millions and grows every day. For example, in March 2023 the charity donated $25,000 to Pheasants Forever and Quails Forever for wildlife habitat and conservation efforts. January 2023, hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations were given to a variety of organizations. Guns for Great Causes is always working behind the scenes to give a boost to those the company believes need it most. The charity likes to make surprise donations, too.
It isn’t all about writing checks for cash money, though. Henry also donates the company’s high-quality guns—often as limited edition runs—to specific people and organizations. Sometimes those donations are done as a thank-you. Other times, guns are donated so recipients can use them to raise funds for a cause.
One of countless instances showcasing this ability took place in 2020, when the entity donated 65 custom rifles to raise funds for the family of a toddler with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Henry named the rifle the “Prayers for Preslie Edition Golden Boy Silver” in honor of the toddler, three-year-old Preslie Mantsch. (Note about Preslie’s progress: after the donations made to cover her medical bills, she underwent a final round of chemotherapy on August 31, 2022, then was officially declared in remission and enrolled in school.)
Certain charitable actions on the part of Guns for Great Causes are made publicly, while others happen behind the scenes. Henry takes its dedication to making a difference seriously. Anyone who believes the gun maker does it for attention is flat-out wrong.
How You Can Help
Perhaps the most straightforward way to help Guns for Great Causes is to participate in the purchase of one of the company’s limited-run rifles. When you buy a rifle that’s been donated to raise funds for a sick child, you aren’t just seeing a fraction of the purchase price go to the cause. Instead, it’s all of it; 100% of the funds from the sale of rifles donated for these situations go to the recipient. Henry doesn’t take a cut—which means the manufacturing time and components required to manufacture the rifle are donated, too. Guns aren’t donated just for appearance’s sake, either. They are used as a way to involve people in fundraising efforts with zero monetary benefits to the company itself. That alone makes Guns for Great Causes stand out among many other charities.
So, where can you find these guns for sale? When Henry donates rifles for pediatric cancer patients through Guns for Great Causes, guns are available online. On some occasions, auctions are held specific to the first gun in a limited run or other specific serial numbers. Links to the sales can be found on Henry’s website that take you to a listing, usually on GunBroker.com. You need to understand that these guns sell out within hours, so it really almost takes a dose of luck to happen upon the event in time. That doesn’t mean you can’t still help the recipient.
Once the donation is made, the child or organization’s name is public. Even if you’re not able to get your hands on a limited-run Henry rifle, you can donate to the child or organization. After all, their name and situation are clearly shown so it’s easy to take the steps necessary to help a fantastic cause each and every time.
Would it be nice to have one of these special rifles in your hands? Absolutely! But what means even more is the financial aspect of taking some of the crushing burden of medical bills off the shoulders of a family whose child is battling a life-threatening illness. So, if you can’t get a rifle, I recommend you take a few minutes to donate to the family or group anyway. You never know what even the tiniest donation might mean to someone.
The firearms industry is seen by some outsiders as a greedy money-making machine focused only on churning out weapons of some level of destruction. Nothing could be further from reality. Over the years, I have witnessed countless instances of selfless behavior, donations, and banding together for a great cause. There’s no family like the gun family, and there’s no charitable entity quite like Guns for Great Causes. Family isn’t about DNA, it’s about love and loyalty. And sometimes, family is found in gunpowder and lead.