'Second Amendment Sisters' Rally on Mall

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

Washington (CNSNews.com) - As gun control supporters staged the "Million Mom March" at one end of the National Mall on Sunday, pro-Second Amendment activists gathered near the Washington Monument for a counter-demonstration.

More than 3,000 people, according to a Park Service estimate, took part in the "Armed Informed Mother's March" organized by the Second Amendment Sisters, a national women's group that supports the right to bear firearms.

"The Million Mom March believes they speak for all mothers, but they do not speak for me," Diane McKeough, a national coordinator for SAS, said to the crowd from a stage near Constitution Avenue in downtown Washington.

Kimberly Watson, SAS founder and a chief organizer of AIMM, told CNSNews.com that she was not concerned that the disparity in crowd sizes represented the breakdown in public opinion on gun issues.

"We've only been organizing since January, so we're pleased with the response that we've had," said Watson. "Across the country, people have sent us letters and emails supporting us. . . . There's more of us out there than you'll see on camera."

Watson said that licensing and registration of handguns, which organizers of the Million Mom March have advocated, will inevitably lead to confiscation of firearms.

"Historically, registration has always lead to confiscation," said Watson. "The wealthy and powerful will always have guns to defend themselves, but ordinary citizens will be left unprotected."

Watson said that in the wake of the march SAS will be pushing for increased access to gun safety classes for children, increased firearm ownership among women, and educating the public and the media about "the benefits of gun ownership."

Personal protection was a major theme of AIMM, with several women speakers recounting stories of assaults that they said could have been stopped by firearms.

The keynote address at the rally was given by Texas State Representative Suzanna Gratia-Hupp, a leading proponent of conceal and carry laws.

In 1991, Gratia-Hupp was in a restaurant in Killeen, TX, when an armed man entered and killed 21 people, including her parents. She said she believes she could have stopped the man had she been able to carry her weapon into the restaurant.

Re-Joyce Smith of Hope Ministries in Houston, TX, said that the answer to crime in the inner cities was not gun control, but "changing people's hearts and minds."

"We've gotten away from right and wrong," Smith told CNSNews.com. "It's not about new gun laws, but controlling our actions."

The protestors finished the day with a march on the Capitol.