WASHINGTON — Dan Cooper, a proud member of the National Rifle Association, has backed Republicans for most of his life. He's the chief executive of Cooper Arms, a small Montana company that makes hunting rifles.
Cooper said he voted for George W. Bush in 2000, having voted in past elections for every Republican presidential nominee back to Richard Nixon. In October 1992, he presented a specially made rifle to the first President. Bush during a Billings campaign event.
This year, Cooper has given $3,300 to the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama. That's on top of the $1,000 check he wrote to Obama's U.S. Senate campaign in 2004, after he was dazzled by Obama's speech at that year's Democratic National Convention.
What happened next ought to have been come as no surprise to Mr. Cooper. According to the Los Angeles Times blog:
Cooper Arms makes hunting rifles, and hunting gun owners — who largely support Republican John McCain and do not appreciate Obama's stance on gun control — went ballistic over the news in various Internet chat rooms.
Gee, ya think? Did Mr. Cooper not think that giving money to support a candidate who wants to put him out of business and has voted to infringe Second Amendment freedoms at every turn might raise the ire of his customers? Perhaps Mr. Cooper is one of those "Second Amendment is only about hunting" types, who somehow naively think the anti-gunners won't come after them with the same fanatacism that they now go after makers of cosmetically-challenged firearms.
Evidently, the outrage at Mr. Cooper's preceived betrayal forced the company into major damage control mode, and the company's website homepage now sports the following message:
In response to the recent article highlighting Dan Cooper’s personal political donations, the board of directors, shareholders and employees of Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc would like to issue the following statement.
The employees, shareholders and board of directors of Cooper Firearms of Montana do not share the personal political views of Dan Cooper.
Although we all believe everyone has a right to vote and donate as they see fit, it has become apparent that the fallout may affect more than just Mr. Cooper. It may also affect the employees and the shareholders of Cooper Firearms.
The board of directors has asked Mr. Cooper to resign as President of Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc.
Daily operations will continue with the competent staff currently in place in Stevensville, MT producing the finest, most accurate rifles money can buy.
Dan Cooper has spent all of his working life producing the highest quality rifles built here in the USA. He started with nothing but the American Dream and built that into firearms company anyone would be proud of. We firmly believe Dan stands by the 2nd amendment.
We wish him all of the best in his future pursuits.
Perhaps we ought to have a refresher course in the meaning of the Second Amendment for all gun manufacturers and other so-called Second Amendment "supporters" to remind them that the Second Amendment isn't about hunting, or target shooting, or "sporting purposes". That way, we might avoid future unpleasantness of the type we experienced here.
[Hat tip to reader Jim P. for the story]