More thoughts on the Cooper Arms story

Am I happy that Dan Cooper was forced to resign as CEO of Cooper Arms? Not really. It is too bad that Mr. Cooper got involved with the incident, but after what he did, especially the USAToday story, I could not support his business, and made my feelings clear, both to them, and on this blog. Apparently there were enough people that agreed with me that the board felt it was in the best interest of the business for Mr. Cooper to resign his position.

Do I think I did the right thing? Absolutely. What Mr. Cooper did was far more damaging to the cause of gun rights than a simple vote or even a political donation. Through the USAToday interview, he linked himself, his business, and his NRA membership to his support of Sen. Obama, a man with a long history of opposing our Second Amendment rights, no matter what he says in the Presidential campaign.

Then, when Mr. Cooper was called on it, he, or a person in the company, posted an explanation that included the claim that he had donated to Sen. McCain’s campaign, and by implicaion supported him. No evidence of any such contribution could be found, and lacking any evidence to the contrary, I would have to assume that we were lied to. I will be happy to correct that, should I receive evidence to the contrary. Also, in the USAToday article, he was quoted as supporting Sen. Obama.

Considering these factors, I think that the reaction by myself and others was justified. I do not take pleasure in his losing something he has presumably worked quite hard for, but I stand for our rights, and he took a position that could damage them. I do not regret what we did, and would do it again.

The accusation that either the people who contacted Cooper Arms, or the board, are against the First Amendment shows either a profound error in understanding, or blatent disredard to the true meaning of the amendment.

The text of the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Through the Fourteenth Amendment, this is incorporated against the states. Nothing in the First Amendment guarantees that there will not be consequences to your exercise of your right from private parties, only the Congress, and later state government, shall not infringe on that right.

I fully support anyone’s right to support in word, finances and vote the candidate of their choice. However, I am not always going to support the choice that they make, and will choose to exercise my First Amendment right to disagree. In the case of a business, I may disagree with my finances, taking my business elsewhere. I will also use this blog as I feel appropriate. In this case, Mr. Cooper expressed his views, Some others and I expressed ours, and a sufficient majority sided with us. The board of Cooper Arms, acting in a manner they felt was in accordance with their duties to their employees and shareholders, took our side.


Comments

More thoughts on the Cooper Arms story — 14 Comments

  1. Dear Sir:

    I have read your thoughts about Dan Cooper and Sen. Obama and I can only conclude that you are the typical right wing extremist that exemplifies the very worst the worst America has to offer. You are not only ignorant, you are willfully ignorant. Your understanding of our freedoms is laughably retarded and morally bankrupt.

    In short, I call on all readers of your pathetic blog to remember your hysterical ranting about Obama’s alleged desire to take guns from Americans after the next four years of President Obama. If you are wrong about Obama, and time will tell, you should apologize to all your readers for being an idiotic, scare-mongering, right wing moron. I will venture to guess that you are too cowardly and immature to ever apologize when you are wrong.

    Lastly, there are millions of us gun owners in America that support Obama and we will show you in a landslide of epic proportions next week that you are truly an extremist on the fringe of society.

  2. Vinnie: that “extremist” meme is getting a little tired. There are extremists out there, and Peter isn’t one of them. Ad-hominem attacks and name-calling are not part of the discourse of civilized people. Around here, we care about facts.

    This blog, and the countless others who agree with his sentiments are not given to believing the rhetoric of a man who has a clear record of opposing the rights protected by the Second Amendment. Those are facts.

    I know Obama _says_ he “supports” it, but he is being willfully ignorant, as you say, about the meaning of an individual right. Obama has stated his belief that the Second Amendment *creates* the right to keep and bear arms. The Supreme Court (along with every legitimate constitutional scholar in the country) agree that the right pre-exists our constitution, and that the Bill of Rights was only enumerated in order to explicitly protect those natural rights.

    You call the posts on this blog “hysterical rantings”, but quite frankly, I haven’t noticed anything hysterical here. Hysterics often flow from the far-left blogs, and the far-right ones as well, but here you’ll find nothing but thoughtful discussion.

    Finally, you posit that there are millions of gun owners supporting Senator Obama’s bid for the White House. I seriously doubt that, but you are correct that the outcome is yet to be seen. Were I a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on this race. Either way. If Obama is elected, and serves four or eight years without signing any bill that infringes on the Second Amendment, then I will swallow my pride and publicly apologize for being wrong about the senator’s gun control policies. Of course, anti-gun congress-critters are already anxiously awaiting the next term where they will likely have a filibuster-proof majority, and possibly a Democrat in the White House.

  3. Thoughtful discussion? That’s a laugh. You folks are extremists and dumb ones at that. I have read many of these posts on this blog and some of you guys can’t even get the basic facts right like which state Obama represented as a state representative. This blog reads like a Rush Limbaugh zombie convention. Facts, reality and fairness are foreign concepts to you people. You are the folks that I have no doubt fully supported the policies of GW Bush these last eight years. You folks seem to think that there is only ONE amendment to the Constitution – the 2nd. The fact is that GW Bush and GOP have assaulted the Bill of Rights to a degree unseen in American history. Signing statements, torture and the elimination of Habeus Corpus are direct assaults on OUR freedoms and yet you folks cheered on and voted for this madness. I have always been highly amused at the right wingers that openly admit to listening to Rush “Hillbilly Heroin” Limbaugh. Why not just go down to your local methedone clinic and ask the first junkie you see about his views on politics?

    The fact is that you are an extremist and an un-American one for attacking Dan Cooper. I wonder what your buisiness is and how many Obama supporters pay your bills. I would give anything to see you deal with the shoe being on the other foot. Maybe you would be a bit more thoughtful about allowing a man to make a living even if you do not agree with his politics. If the roles were reversed, I can guarantee that you would be squealing like a stuck pig.

    I will make a point of coming back to read your apology. Cheers!

  4. The name calling on blogs has gotten way out of hand…..regardless of who wins the election, we will have an upgrade at President. Vinnie is right in many of his comments on Bush and the assault on the Bill of Rights in general and elimination of Habeaus Corpus.

    Gentleman and Ladies….the world will not end if Obama becomes President. Your run rights will not be taken away, the gays are not taking over….there is so much fear and spin it is so difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

    Bush has gotten us 10 Trillion dollars in the hole. (He has doubled the deficit in 8 years). He has put us into one Iraq, which every knows wast not needed. We contained the Soviet Union for 50 years and they were a much bigger threat to us than Iraq. Did we attack the Soviets because they were an imminent threat? 4500 American Soldiers have died. 25,000 are injured in some way or another. You cannot impose democracy on another country. They need to figure it out themselves. Just like we did….It will take another 300 years for the Iraq’s to figure out democracy….

    Conservatives need to hold Bush to account. He has done more harm to our standing in the world then any President before him. But wait, he supports the fact that you can buy an Uzzi/AK-47 at a gun show, so apparently this is more important than anything else? Now that is crazy.

  5. Just to be clear, I neither like Rush (who is an insufferable arrogant ass) nor Bush, who as you said has damaged our other liberties. Also, for the record, I don’t think McCain will be much better than Bush. But I do believe Obama will be worse than either of them. That said, I would vote for a third party if there was a good, viable option. Since there isn’t, I am voting for the “lesser” of the two evils.

    That being said, I’d like for you to explain precisely what “un-American” means within the context that you used it?

    If you actually read what Peter had to say, you would understand that the only point of contention we have with Mr. Cooper is that he publicly supported a candidate whose record is in stark contrast to the beliefs of a substantial majority of gun owners. Simply mentioning that to other gun owners isn’t an “attack”.

    Regarding role reversal, I never do or say anything that I am not 100% prepared to stand by.

  6. I own a handgun and a shotgun and I am voting for Obama. It is unfortunate, but not surprising, to see radicals at work in this situation.

  7. Vinnie, if you want to talk about apologies, let’s. If Sen. Obama wins, and vetoes every gun control bill that comes across his desk, and if I am still writing here in four years, I will apologize.

    However, I expect to hear apologies from you if we get a renewed ban on common rifles (the so-called Assault Weapons Ban,) higher taxes on guns or ammo, or any of the other things that I have talked about. Do we have a deal?

  8. “But wait, he supports the fact that you can buy an Uzzi/AK-47 at a gun show”

    No he doesn’t support that. Bush has not been a friend to gun owners. He stated he would sign a renewed assault weapons ban. His administration was responsible for an Amici brief in the DC vs Heller which argued for a weakened Second Amendment.

    McCain has also already promised support for further restrictions, but not nearly as many as Obama.

    It is also worth noting that nobody in this country can buy either an automatic Uzi or an AK-47 at a gun show. The process for obtaining a fully-automatic weapon is long, expensive, and requires a full background check, and approval from local law enforcement as well as the BATFE. That is, of course, if you can even afford an automatic weapon, which run anywhere from $5k for a “cheap” one to many hundreds of thousands. These guns are not used in crimes because they are so heavily regulated and extremely difficult to procure.

  9. I think another poster has it right when he wrote that some of you folks are willing to sacrifice America’s standing in the world and all of YOUR other rights except the right to bear arms. You also seem willing to endanger America by knee jerk supporting any Republican like GW Bush simply because you THINK he will be less of a threat to your right to own guns. Let me be clear, I am an unashamed Liberal and I own guns. There are millions of people just like me in America. I got news for many of you on the right, you do not now nor have you ever had a franchise on patriotism, the flag or defending the Constitution. I hope all of you understand that next weeks epic landslide victory for Barak Obama is a clear victory for America and a thorough repudiation of the crimes and lies of GW Bush/Cheney.

    In addition, I do find it un-American the way Dan was attacked. You folks didn’t just disagree with Dan and make a personal choice not to buy Cooper rifles, you instigated a public campaign that ended up depriving a lifelong Republican and gun owner of his livelihood and legacy. Talk about eating your own. I dare say that many of you would be shocked at how many employees and managers at other gun manufacturers will be pulling the lever for Obama. I will also offer that Cooper is simply the latest in a LONG line of republicans that have been villified for publicly stating that GW Bush and his policies were/are madness.

    Lastly, I find it sad that so many of the extremist NRA members seem to think that America’s greatness is solely tied to gun ownership. It isn’t and never was. The 2nd Amendment is simply ONE part of our greatness and to think that Americans will allow the government to eliminate the right to own guns is paranoid insanity. I know I will stand up to protect the Constitution. The difference, it seems, between me and many of you is that you folks will only stand up for a tiny part of it.

  10. I don’t remember Peter (or myself) ever having a problem with freedom of speech. I personally spend a lot of time blogging about Second Amendment related issues, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hold the entire Bill of Rights to be important.

    Second, to my knowledge Dan Cooper didn’t directly say anything about Bush. He said he had a problem with where the Republican party is headed. So do I. But that’s not what this debate is about.

    I don’t know why you must keep going on about Bush. Most of us well also be glad to see him gone. Bush != conservative. Bush != Republican. We know. We are all counting down the days until he’s gone. Whatever. You spend so much time talking about how much you hate Bush that you don’t seem to really have much else of value to say.

    You need to refresh your rhetoric.

    Instead of attacking Bush, why don’t you try to explain to us how Obama is actually going to support the Second Amendment. Start out by explaining what exactly the 2A is and what it does. Then square that with Obama’s record and statements.

  11. Well gee Greg, who did you vote for the last two elections?

    I will admit that my initial posts were a bit inflammatory and a bit too much name calling, but I do believe what I wrote.

    The fact is that GW Bush IS the face of modern conservativism. So is Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and FOX News to name a few.

    I think that what we are witnessing in America in regard to this election is the average American acknowledging the source of their economic pain – the GOP. I know many, many Republicans in rural Indiana that regret their decision to vote for Bush. They know now that they have been played as rubes, suckers and marks by the ultra-wealthy elite that control the GOP. They have seen their jobs along with their healthcare disappear in ever greater numbers. Believe me when I tell you that rural Indiana is hurting and the pain is going to get worse as more chickens come home to roost. I think we are witnessing a seismic shift of allegiance in American politics much like the shift that happened when Johnson supported the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960’s. Many are coming back to the Dem party because they realize that Reagnomics and the GOP are the party that has caused their economic security to evaporate. I will also offer that there are many Democrats that have played ball with the corporatist, deregulation policies enacted by Congress. NAFTA, the bankruptcy bill and other legislation was passed with Democratic support. That I do not deny.

    I will end by offering that Dan Cooper is a lifelong Republican and gun rights supporter. You folks here and elsewhere have mounted a campaign that has deprived one of your own of his livelihood and his legacy simply because you are irrationally scared that Obama is going to come and take your guns. How sad and crazy is that? I think all of you that wrote to Cooper Inc attacking Dan should be ashamed of yourselves. I welcome Dan into the light and out of the cave of shadows (cheap Plato reference).

  12. To be 100% honest, I did not vote for George Bush in either of the last two elections. My wife only voted for him the first time, and only because McCain didn’t win the 2000 primary. I think it is safe to say that this country would be in far better shape had McCain won back in 2000.

    “GW Bush IS the face of modern conservativism. So is Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and FOX News to name a few.” Perhaps.

    I am not a modern conservative though. I don’t think most grassroots gun rights activists are “modern conservatives” or neo-cons, or whatever you want to call it. Your earlier posts made those assumptions. I’m glad to see you have taken a moment to step back and reflect on what you are saying.

    The truth is, most of us are classical liberals, libertarians, Reagan conservatives, or some suchlike. We all believe in individual liberty, although that is probably where the universal similarities end. The modern form of “conservatism” which you speak of is as abhorrent to most of us as it is to you. But we feel it can be fixed from the inside. It doesn’t require electing a socialist. We want change, just not the kind Obama is offering. On the other hand, most of the Second-Amendment-centric blogs do not speak highly of McCain. If you spend any time looking around, you will see that quite readily. Most of us have simply decided that McCain is the lesser threat to our liberties. I agree with that, but just barely.

    Still, none of us think Obama will “take our guns”. We know, however, based explicitly on what he has said and done that he will push for and sign legislation that limits our rights without any benefit to society. His reasons are 100% political, and have no solid basis in reality. The other reason we don’t buy into “common sense” gun control is that it has and always will be 100% take with 0% give. Obama supports the Second Amendment out of political expediency. Were he not running for president, you would have never heard him utter those words. That is why we fear an Obama presidency… not because he will confiscate Pappy’s old duck gun.

    I do feel bad for Dan… it seems that he got caught in this maelstrom for a few off-hand statements he made. However, any time a CEO makes a statement can be construed to represent his company, the board of directors and shareholders have a right to second-guess him. If the CEO of McDonalds came out and said he still enjoys a Wendy’s chicken sandwich from time to time, he would be fired that same day. Cooper is in position of being the namesake of his rifle company. The name is attached to an earned respect within the industry. Once you lend your name to a corporation in which others have a stake, you are no longer free to use your name with abandon. Mr. Cooper could have supported Obama in any number of ways that wouldn’t be tied to his company, but he chose to link his company and his NRA membership to his support for Barack Obama.

  13. I have never heard of Cooper Firearms. According to the Internet, they are a small manufacturer of expensive custom rifles. Beyond that, it is hard to comment in detail about the company and its decision. But I have served on a corporate board, so I know a little bit about how companies deal with controversies.

    It is within the board’s right to dismiss Mr. Cooper for any reason. Usually, when things like this happen there is some other issue just underneath. As Cooper Firearms in privately held, their financial statements are unavailable, as is a corporate organizational chart. My guess, and it is only that, would be that there is some pre-existing struggle within the company.

    The market for high-end products of all kinds is fickle, and probably getting more so as the economy weakens. Given that political radicalism holds sway over many gun owners, it’s easy to imagine that the company’s board of directors would have seen the protests about Dan Cooper’s politics as a threat to the company’s survival.

    In fact, it wouldn’t shock me if Mr. Cooper was a prime mover on his departure from the board. The company bears his name, and that makes him a major potential loser from any boycott, formal or otherwise. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Mr. Cooper remains at the company, performing the duties he always has, but with none of the publicity.

    It’s unfortunate and short-sighted of sportsmen to penalize Mr. Cooper, or his company, for his political leanings. If Cooper Firearms makes a superior product, as is indicated by the reviews I have read, that ought to be enough. No one shoots politics. Moreover, there is no inherent contradiction between gun ownership and Democratic Party affiliation and belief.

  14. Oh my god some of you people are just stupid. Why cant you stop blaiming bush for all of the problems. Now dont get me wrong i hate bush but i am tired of hearing all of these people lie just because they can so let me set u right. Bush did not put us into 10 trillion in debt he only did 5, Clinton first put us into debt bush just didn’t do anything to stop it. So i hope all of you can wise up and stop watching all of that fall left mind rotting news stations like msnbc, cnn, cbs that only give a small part of the truth or none at all.

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