Over the Border - January 8, 2018

We’re currently parked on the banks of the Potomac River in Maryland, just over the border from the land of the free, that is, our home state of Virginia.

Life is different here, even though Virginia is so close that I can see it through my RV window.

According to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., Maryland is one of the top five most unfree states in the Union. Cato evaluates states’ policies that restrict or enforce myriad American liberties. It scores on fiscal policy, regulatory policy, labor-market freedom, health insurance freedom, occupational freedom, cable and communications, incarcerations and arrests, lawsuit freedom, marriage freedom, education, gun control, alcohol/marijuana/tobacco/gambling freedoms, asset forfeiture, travel freedom, civil liberties, legality of prostitution, religious freedom, and campaign finance. You can read and download a free copy of the most recent report here: 


Maryland scores right up there with California and New York (of course), when it comes to overall lack of freedoms. Why is this a thing?

Until now I hadn’t given Maryland much thought, even though a family member has always referred to Maryland as the “Big Plantation.” Heretofore I had thought this term extreme, the utterance of someone not bothered with details, more prone to make sweeping generalizations tied to stereotypes.

My thoughts are changing. The moment we leave Virginia by crossing the Harry Nice Bridge (toll collected by Maryland: $6; Virginia collects nothing) the cost of a gallon of gas goes up nearly a quarter. The price of the cheapest champagne jumps $3. Maryland merchants aren’t richer than Virginia ones, they just act as tax collection agents of the State. Further, when I drive around Maryland I must leave my .38 special behind. Maryland doesn’t recognize my concealed carry permit. I miss my gun, particularly when I’m out at night. Maryland deprives me of my 2nd Amendment right, including when I’m in Baltimore, a city that appears fifth on the list of 30 American cities where you’re most likely to get your head blown off by a violent criminal. 

I ask you: Do Maryland citizens enjoy better education, higher quality of life, or lower crime as a result of excessive regulation and taxation of virtually every aspect of their lives? The data reflects a resounding No.

And then this morning. I was approaching the Bridge to drive into Virginia when I mistakenly pulled into a closed toll booth. I recognized my error, looked in the rearview mirror and saw no vehicles behind me, so proceeded to back up a few feet and pull into an open toll booth. Within a few seconds I saw the flashing blue light. After the officer asked for my I.D., her very next question concerned weapons in my vehicle. 

WHY does the .38 in my car matter in such a case? The focus on regulation of the firearms of free, law abiding citizens is the hallmark of a tyrannous government. Firearms are the first tool a government confiscates from a free people to control them. Weapons are never allowed in the hands of slaves. If you live in a “shall issue” state, that is, your state shall issue a concealed carry permit at your request, instead of a “may issue” state, fight to see that the law isn’t changed to strip you of the great equalizer. Get informed. Vote. Support organizations that fight for gun rights. Marylanders lost their shall issue rights. Other states don’t have to.