Safety Checks Ordered After N.Y. Rifle Maker Ships Loaded Guns

April 8, 2008

A rifle manufacturer asked arms dealers nationwide to make extra safety inspections after discovering it had accidentally shipped four guns loaded with live ammunition.

Henry Repeating Arms, a maker of lever-action rifles like ones used in the 1860s and 1870s, said a thorough round of inventory checks revealed no other loaded weapons.

“We would never want anybody to get hurt,” the company’s president, Anthony Imperato, said this week.

As a rule, firearms are distributed unloaded to prevent potentially deadly accidents. Imperato said the company’s mistake was related to one of its quality control measures.

Every gun made by Henry Arms is test-fired before it is sold, a common practice in the industry. The rifles are then supposed to be checked to make sure no rounds remain, but Imperato said an error allowed a few guns to be distributed still loaded for the test firing procedure.

“We have since upgraded our system,” Imperato said.

Antigun groups that learned of the error castigated the company, especially because some of its weapons are marketed as “youth” rifles for children.

“Henry Repeating Arms should move swiftly to make the general public aware of the threat posed by these loaded guns. An ‘apology’ for any ‘inconvenience’ to gun dealers is inadequate,” said Andy Pelosi, executive director of the New York group

Henry Repeating Arms, founded 15 years ago, said it makes about 100,000 guns per year that are shipped to dealers worldwide.

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