When a whale dies in the middle of the ocean, its corpse slowly drifts to the midnight-dark abyssal zone thousands of feet below the water’s surface. There, as the enormous carcass decomposes over the course of years, it sustains a flourishing array of bottom dwellers that pick apart the remains, in a phenomenon known as a “whale fall.”
A similar event may soon unfold in the gun rights ecosystem as the National Rifle Association implodes. Following decades of self-dealing business practices and financial mismanagement that enriched the leadership, board members, and vendors of one of the country’s most feared political interest groups, the NRA may be forced to shut down for good. A lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James in August seeks to impose the rare corporate death penalty on the NRA, after an investigation revealed an organization so corrupt that her office contends it cannot be reformed. The death of the NRA would mark the end of an era, but the lawsuit won’t end the gun rights movement. Over its lifetime, the NRA has built up a massive organizational infrastructure, which will likely live on to sustain even more extreme pro-gun groups.