A pro-gun women’s group has announced it will sponsor rallies in 22 cities on Mother’s Day to show support for a woman’s right to own and use a gun for protection and to counter planned demonstrations from an anti-gun women’s organization.

The group, Second Amendment Sisters, also held rallies last year in opposition to similar rallies held by the Million Mom March organization.

Five women who were members of the FreeRepublic.com news and discussion chat site formed SAS-AIM, or Second Amendment Sisters — Armed Informed Mothers, in December 1999.

Their first effort was the AIM Rally and March on Mother’s Day 2000, which the group said drew approximately 5,000 people to the Washington Monument and thousands more to rallies in cities all over the United States, according to a statement released by the group this week.

Since then, Second Amendment Sisters has welcomed a growing number of women and men from across the country, all dedicated, unpaid volunteers who passionately believe in the basic human right of self-defense, the statement said.

“It is crucial to let our state legislatures know that the right to self-defense is vitally important to women. We can no longer sit on the sidelines of this debate while we are put in harm’s way by dangerous notions masquerading as common sense,” said Juli Bednarzyk, the group’s president.

Current plans for the May 13 Mother’s Day events, the group said, are for rallies in the following states: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

“In California, they will actually be holding rallies in three different cities on that day. In Florida, they will be holding rallies in two different cities,” the statement said.

“In Colorado, they are planning a picnic, while in Missouri they will be doing a card campaign. Most of the states are planning on having a variety of speakers, from legislators to crime survivors,” said the statement.

The group has posted a schedule of events, listed state-by-state, on its website.

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