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Obama received support from ... a gun maker?

October 29, 2008 |  4:21 pm


Here's a juicy little story about guns, hunting and politics:

USA Today ran an article Tuesday stating that Dan Cooper, chief executive of Cooper Arms in Montana, donated $3,300 to Barack Obama's presidential campaign and had donated to his 2004 Senate campaign after being "dazzled by Obama's speech at that year's Democratic National Convention."

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.

Then came the first volley of damage control on the Cooper Arms website:

"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."

That was earlier. As of late Wednesday, the statement on the Cooper Arms website read: 

"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."

Justice, some might say, moves swiftly in Montana.

—Pete Thomas

Photo: Anne Cusak / Los Angeles Times