Montana gunsmith Dan Cooper has been ousted as chief executive of the rifle company that bears his name after pressure from gun owners who are angry that he is supporting Democrat Barack Obama, reports USA Today. Cooper, founder and part owner of Cooper Firearms, told the newspaper that he has voted for Republicans for most of his life, but he is backing Obama “probably because of the war. And also because the Republican Party has moved so far right in recent years.” The article provoked outrage from some gun owners and bloggers, including a letter on a blog called Firearms and Freedom, urging people to boycott the company’s products.
“It’s a really McCarthyism at its worst,” said Bob Ricker of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, which has endorsed Obama. “That’s really why our organization was formed, was to deal with this craziness. If you’re a gun owner, but you have a contrary view to some of these wackos, they will go out and try to destroy you.” Cooper’s company said it had received more than a thousand emails over the controversy. Andrew Arulanandam of the National Rifle Association said the case is “an indication of how voters and gun owners feel about Barack Obama. He has a lifetime record of opposing their rights.” Obama has said otherwise: “I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people’s lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away.”