The gun lobby's circular firing squad


Gun activists believe -- perhaps correctly -- that the future of their hobby is bound up with the financial health of the companies that make guns. That's why the NRA campaigned so heavily for the 2005 gun liability bill, which keeps gun manufacturers and dealers from being held responsible for crimes committed using their products. So you'd expect gun activists to be particularly supportive of Cooper Firearms, a small gun manufacturer based in Stevensville, MT that produces beautiful -- and extremely accurate -- high-end rifles. Unfortunately, precision craftsmanship isn't enough to make up for something that, during the feverish end of this election season, turns out to be the unpardonable sin of the gun world: supporting Barack Obama for president.

Dan Cooper, founder and president of Cooper Firearms, made the mistake of telling a reporter from USA Today that he's voting for -- and contributing to -- Obama. This caused the conservative blogosphere to do everything short of taking up arms against Cooper, flooding Cooper Arms with angry emails and calls and writing anonymous web-comment gems such as these:

"Montana is becoming more and more Californicated every day. Enjoy your democrat-socialist hellhole like we do here in Michigan."

"Keep up the pressure folks & don't believe the hype...Cooper Arms is unrepentant, arrogant, and needs  to be bitch slapped HARD!"

"They lied to us, blatantly, with their first response. I now wouldn't trust them if they burned him to the stake."

Nobody has burned Dan Cooper at the stake just yet, but the Cooper Arms board of directors has forced him to resign the presidency of the company he founded. Presumably his replacement will be someone more ideologically pure.

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