I have been battling the National Rifle Association for 30 years, and this is the weakest I’ve ever seen it. However, that doesn’t mean the gun rights movement is fading away; it is just no longer led by the formerly influential organization. Though the NRA has been promoting insurrectionary rhetoric for decades, groups such as the Proud Boys, who have seized upon this violent ideology, are operationalizing it and now have the energy in the modern gun rights movement.

Though the current insurrectionist movement lacks the NRA’s past political sophistication, it makes up for it with armed aggression. The new faces of the gun movement are those that stormed the Capitol. The NRA’s insurrectionist idea is now a reality, and elected officials are not nearly as afraid of the NRA’s dwindling checkbook as they are of facing armed domestic terrorist groups in their home districts.

This extremist fringe is carrying on the NRA’s treacherous legacy. And the GOP appears more than willing to appease them — even if it drives this dangerous ideology forward. 

Josh Horwitz, Washington

The writer is executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.