USA Today Cites Gun Builder Dan Cooper As Obama Advocate; He Resigns from Company
WASHINGTON A story on USA Today's website last week by Ken Dilanian lead with an anecdote that might surprise many gun-rights proponents:
It read, "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.
"Cooper is a player in one of the little-told dramas of the 2008 presidential campaign: how Obama has been able to out-raise Republican John McCain among swaths of the business community, outperforming previous Democratic presidential nominees in drawing business support."
Read the rest of the story here: www.USAToday.com/news/politics/election2008.
The follow-up on the story showed the consequences of Cooper's decision: The company posted a statement Wednesday night on its website that said:
"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."
Cooper Firearms employs 38 people, Cooper said Monday. Dan Cooper and two other former employees of Kimber of Oregon founded Cooper Firearms, Inc. in 1990. With a little over 50 years of combined experience in manufacturing custom quality long guns and funds provided by a small group of investors, the Cooper crew set out to manufacture America's finest rifles. Cooper first designed and manufactured the Model 36 TRP-1 (Target Rifle Project-Phase 1).