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.