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A hearse carries the body of Police Officer Eric Talley, killed in the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images

Gun control groups are joining the progressive fight to end the filibuster as the Senate voting rule threatens their goal of passing comprehensive gun reform.

Why it matters: The House recently passed two gun bills, but neither stand a chance of getting the 60 votes needed in the 50-50 Senate. Senate Democrats have already been talking about getting rid of the filibuster to pass other legislation through a simple 51-vote majority.

  • Two mass shootings in one week have renewed the urgency for gun control among advocacy groups, which are pushing the White House and Congress for immediate action.

What they're saying: "We didn't do all this work in 2020, tell all of our youth activists to get out and vote, to get nothing done," Max Markham, policy director at March for Our Lives, told Axios.

  • He said his group intends to get involved in lobbying efforts to eliminate the filibuster.
  • Greg Jackson, a community organizer who leads the Community Justice Action Fund's national advocacy efforts, said the filibuster is "part of the reason why gun violence has continued to rage forward without the solutions we need."
  • Many gun control activist groups have partnered with larger advocacy projects specifically targeting the elimination of the filibuster. March for Our Lives, Guns Down America, and Brady, for example, are involved in one such group called Fix Our Senate.
  • Brady's vice president of policy Christian Heyne tells Axios' Kadia Goba: "Here's why I see democracy issues like the filibuster as a gun violence prevention issue: We know that the same communities that are disproportionately impacted by gun violence are the voices who are being marginalized in our democratic systems and structures."

The legislative piece is just one component.

  • March for Our Lives, for example, is encouraging the White House to take immediate action by issuing executive orders, arguing the "clock is really ticking" on reform.

But, but, but: It's possible that placing energy behind the filibuster on gun reform could compromise efforts to make a filibuster exception to pass something like HR. 1, a voting rights bill that's a top Democratic priority.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) opposes the gun control bills passed by the House and also opposes eliminating the filibuster.
  • Part of his argument is that eliminating it for economic measures could be a precursor for using a straight-majority vote to pass all types of other legislation.

Go deeper

Harris slams "false choice" that gun control means getting rid of 2nd Amendment

Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday that she's "not willing to give up" on pushing the Senate to pass gun control bills before President Biden turns to executive action, and she slammed Republicans for promoting the "false choice" that commonsense gun laws mean getting rid of the 2nd Amendment.

Why it matters: Republican lawmakers have frequently attacked Democrats for pushing their agenda on gun control in the wake of mass shootings, insisting that the measures would be ineffective and only harm responsible gun owners.

Biden demands Congress tighten gun laws in wake of Boulder, Atlanta shootings

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden on Tuesday urged Congress to pass gun control legislation, including two House-approved bills to expand background checks, and renew bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Why it matters: They were some of Biden's most forceful comments on gun control since he was elected, and they came in the wake of a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday and a series of shootings in Georgia last week.

Federal appeals court: States may restrict open carry of firearms

Photo: Joe Raedle via Getty Images

A California federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday to uphold a county law in Hawaii that strictly limited permits for openly carrying firearms.

Why it matters: The 7-4 decision comes amid a renewed gun control debate spurred by two mass shootings that occurred less than a week apart and killed a total of 18 people.

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