‘Free State Politics’ Episode 2: Maryland’s lawmakers discuss voting rights and guns

‘Free State Politics’ Episode 2: Maryland’s lawmakers discuss voting rights and guns


MarylandReporter.com earlier this week debuted Episode 2 of the “Free State Politics” podcast featuring award-winning journalist and host John Rydell and producer and editor Douglas Christian.

The 22-minute episode features interviews with Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), Del. Vanessa Atterbeary (D-Howard) and Sen. Justin Ready (R-Carroll).

Washington discussed efforts by several southern states such as Georgia and Texas to restrict voting rights through the use of voter ID requirements and limits on mail-in voting and contrasted those efforts-which proponents say are designed to crack down on voter fraud-with actions the Maryland General Assembly has taken to expand voting rights.

“It’s voter suppression. It’s rolling back generations of struggles to expand the franchise, particularly in our southern states. And it is the absolute opposite of what we are doing in Maryland,” Washington said.

Washington goes on to say that voter ID requirements target vulnerable citizens and are unnecessary.

“When you are looking at some of our older adults, or our homeless population, or people who move around a lot, sometimes they don’t have access to their voter IDs all the time. Also, at the time of registration, you do have to demonstrate who you are. So the idea that you have to continually demonstrate who you are can be problematic.”

Atterbeary and Ready discussed how the Supreme Court’s decision to review a challenge to New York’s concealed carry law might impact Maryland’s concealed carry law should the high court rule in favor of the Second Amendment advocates who brought the suit. The lawmakers also offered contrasting opinions over whether concealed carry laws contribute to gun violence.

“I think it could absolutely play a role,” Atterbeary said in reference to the influence the three justices appointed to the high court by former President Donald Trump could have on a potential ruling in the case. “I think that is something that those of us who are worried about gun violence are concerned about. But this is absolutely not the time to weaken gun safety laws here in our country with all of the mass shootings that we have had.”

Atterbeary, who is vice-chair of the House Judiciary Committee, goes on to say that she believes relaxing requirements for concealed carry permits will inevitably lead to more gun violence.

Ready disagreed.

“Concealed carry permit holders nationwide are statistically, basically, the most law-abiding citizens in the entire country. There is very little crime that results from someone who has a concealed carry permit.”

Ready goes on to note that states like Maryland and New York make it extremely difficult to obtain a concealed carry permit.

“It takes a long time. And quite often, just because you feel physically threatened or your family feels threatened-is not a good enough reason to get one.”

The podcast concludes with Rydell’s signature two-minute societal self-reflection: “A Moment of Clarity.”

This week the host discusses both COVID-19 vaccine controversies as well as how improved vaccine metrics have allowed the state to lift restrictions that were put in place just a little over one year ago.

Click here to listen and subscribe to the podcast

About The Author

Bryan Renbaum


Reporter Bryan Renbaum served as the Capitol Hill Correspondent for Talk Media News for the past three-and-a-half years, filing print, radio and video reports on the Senate and the House of Representatives. He covered congressional reaction to the inauguration of President Donald Trump as well as the confirmation hearings of attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He also filed breaking news reports on the 2017 shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others. Previously Bryan broke multiple stories with the Baltimore Post-Examiner including sexual assault scandals at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a texting scandal on the women’s lacrosse team at that school for which he was interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He also covered the Maryland General Assembly during the 2016 legislative session as an intern for Maryland Reporter. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from McDaniel College. If you have additional questions or comments contact Bryan at: bryan@marylandreporter.com

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