Former S.C. Treasurer Thomas Ravenel has renounced his American citizenship and is leaving the United States to live in a country where he “can be free.”

The 49-year-old real estate developer made the announcement Friday morning after his lawyer informed him that he would never be able to own a firearm as a result of his 2007 conviction on federal drug charges.

“Because I’m a convicted felon, I can never possess a firearm,” Ravenel wrote on his Facebook page. “Even if I’m in a home where there’s a gun or even just a single bullet the govt. would construe that as constructive possession according to legal counsel which would guarantee me 15 years in federal prison without parole. After carefully weighing my options and not wanting to put my freedom in jeopardy every time I visit my family or friends I’ve decided to renounce my American citizenship and live where I can be free.”

Ravenel said that he would “keep a house (in America) and maintain investments,” but that he would do so as a non-citizen.

Ravenel – a longtime friend and former client of our founding editor, Will Folks – resigned as State Treasurer in July 2007 after being indicted on federal drug charges. In September of that year, he pleaded guilty to “conspiring to buy and distribute less than 100 grams of cocaine” and served ten months in a federal prison.

Since he completed his sentence, Ravenel has been an outspoken critic of America’s failed “War on Drugs.” He’s also published guest columns here on FITS related to other issues – including the need to cut military spending.

In subsequent Facebook postings, Ravenel elaborated on his decision – and preemptively addressed his critics.

“After what I’ve done for this country, paying millions in taxes and creating thousands of jobs I don’t feel I owe it anything especially after it destroyed my reputation, confiscated my wealth and took my freedom,” Ravenel wrote. “No, let someone else fix these problems. In fact, don’t even fix them. Americans like locking everybody up. Have at it America.”

It’s hard to argue with those sentiments. After all, Ravenel’s “crime” of recreational drug use is something that we believe all Americans should have the right to do – provided of course that in exercising that right they do not  infringe on the rights of others.

The federal government feels differently, though. In fact, America has spent more than $1 trillion fighting its failed “War on Drugs,” which in addition to doing nothing to stem drug use has also fueled the rise of the American police state.

“This country does not respect individual liberty,” Ravenel added. “The early settlers to this country who sought freedom chose not to fight for it in the countries they left but seek it in a new land. That’s the course I’m taking. I’m voting with my feet as it were.”