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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cooper Arms and Obama

There was a lot of chatter yesterday on Internet discussion boards and blogs about a USA Today article discussing corporate executives that don't normally support Democrats that are now supporting Barack Obama. One such exec mentioned was Dan Cooper, "chief executive of Cooper Arms, a small Montana company that makes hunting rifles." The article starts out with:


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.

...Cooper changed sides, he said, "probably because of the war. And also because the Republican Party has moved so far right in recent years."

He also likes Obama's message about "the retooling of America, which involves the building of middle-class jobs and helping American small business be competitive with those overseas."

You can imagine that the reaction to this news ranked right up there with the feelings of betrayal felt after Jim Zumbo made his uninformed comments about semi-auto military style firearms. Zumbo later apologized and after some range time with Ted Nugent, saw the error of his ways and now understands why people like to shoot firearms like AR-15s.

But is this USA Today report the whole story? In today's Shooting Wire, Jim Shepherd writes:


This statement posted on the Cooper Firearms website would seem to indicate otherwise: "Regarding the USA Today Article. Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc. did not contribute and does not support in any fashion the campaign of Senator Obama. Nine months ago Dan Cooper (personally) made an online donation to the campaign in an effort to help defeat Hillary Clinton and in protest of American plant closures and the shipping of jobs overseas. Three months ago he made yet another donation to the McCain campaign and the RNC totaling over twice that given to Obama campaign. There is no doubt that the article in USA Today has caused a considerable response. To this end we are encouraged and stand with our fellow NRA members and supporters of the Second Amendment and against those who oppose it."

The end of this story is far from written, but were Cooper's actions were not inaccurately reported in order to fit inside the "More executives sold on Obama" headline, Mr. Cooper is only beginning to feel the ire of already angry gun owners. When your name is on the sign, there is precious little discrimination between your personal actions and those of your company.

Given how the media has been in the tank for Obama all year, it is probably always good to dig deep into anything they report. In any event, Cooper will likely think twice about talking to the media in the future.

Update: Sebastian has another take on the Cooper response. He makes some good points as always.

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