McCrory wants to pull Confederate flag off NC specialty plates

Posted June 23, 2015
Updated June 24, 2015

— Gov. Pat McCrory plans to seek a change to state law that would allow the Division of Motor Vehicles to stop issuing North Carolina specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag, his spokesman said Tuesday.

"The time is right to change this policy due to the recent Supreme Court ruling and the tragedy in Charleston," spokesman Josh Ellis said in an email to WRAL News.

Long a flashpoint for racial tension, the Confederate battle flag has seized headlines in recent days after a white supremacist opened fire inside a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., last Wednesday night, killing nine people at a Bible study class.

Since then, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and other politicians in that state have called for the removal of the flag from the state capitol grounds in Columbia, and retailers from Wal-Mart to eBay have said they plan to stop selling items bearing the image of the flag.

The state DMV said it has issued 2,064 Confederate flag plates to members of the North Carolina chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's office said McCrory doesn't need legislative approval to remove the flag from the tags, noting DMV is in charge of approving specialty plate designs.

Ellis said, however, that state law requires that plates for civic groups must include a group's name and insignia, which would be the Confederate battle flag for the Sons of Confederate Veterans. So, unless someone can persuade the group to adopt a new insignia, he said, the law would need to be changed.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans calls the flag an important piece of history and their heritage. Paul Graham of the group's South Carolina chapter said the flag shouldn't be conflated with the Charleston church shooting and that removing the image from public places won't change people's actions.

"It will not change anything. What it will do is it will embarrass and shame people that have nothing to do with this event – nothing," Graham said.

House Minority Leader Larry Hall said North Carolina needs to look at all state-sanctioned images that could be considered offensive, but he said he doesn't want the Confederate flag debate to divert attention from debate over firearms legislation pending in the General Assembly.

The House recently passed a bill that would loosen state regulations on who can carry concealed handguns and where they can be carried. The Senate hasn't yet taken up the measure.

"The priority has to be on gun safety and eliminate people getting guns without background checks," Hall said. "Flags don't kill. Guns do."

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also called Tuesday for removing the Confederate battle flag from specialty plates in his state.

"Even its display on state-issued license tags is, in my view, unnecessarily divisive and hurtful to too many of our people," McAuliffe said.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Texas case that states can choose not to issue such plates. In the 5-4 decision, the justices said tags are state property, not the equivalent of bumper stickers, so denying specific designs doesn't violate free-speech rights.

North Carolina and Virginia are among nine states that offer specialty plates with the Confederate battle flag.


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  • Todd Whitmer Jun 26, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    See my previous post. Only apply it to your comment.

  • Joseph Shepard Jun 25, 2015
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    Wow---now it begins---the liberal/leftist/socialist/racist drive to literally erase the entire Southern identity, culture, history and heritage. First, the Battle Flag of The Army of Northern Virginia, incorrectly called the "Confederate Flag). Next will come the moving/removal of all the various statues erected to honor Southern leaders. Next the changing of street names to things like Malcom X Blvd, Martin Luther King Highway, etc. Finally, and perhaps the most ludicrous of all, changing the names of Buildings named after Southern leaders--past and present. I hate to be the one to tell folks, but being Southern does not depend on flags, street names, etc. Rather being Southern is a state of being, an attitude and a matter of pride. In short, being Southern is an idea--which NO liberal/leftist/socialst or racist can ever erase. Live with it.

  • Todd Whitmer Jun 25, 2015
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    This land isn't yours. And I think you may be paranoid.

  • Jaddy Baddy Jun 25, 2015
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    Ya'll just put a whole hell of a lot of Chinese flag makers out of work!
    Hey Yankee: burned any good books, lately?

  • Jaddy Baddy Jun 25, 2015
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    Go down Obama, go down to
    Washington and tell them
    Yankees to let my people go.

    Yankees don't like our flag.
    Yankees don't like our people.
    Yankees don't like the way we talk.
    Yankees don't like our heroes.
    Yankees don't like our music.

    The solution seems pretty simple to me: take down your god dam navy bases, air bases and army bases that surround the South like prison guard towers, you ain't foolin' nobody, they ain't there to keep nobody OUT, they're there to keep US IN, and We Know it.

    Fold up your dam snow bird trailers, get the hell off our land and don't come back.

  • Todd Whitmer Jun 24, 2015
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    I guess my comments struck a nerve. So far, 2 of my posts have been taken down for "offending".

    I'll take it as a compliment since it doesn't hurt my feelings in the least. I'm able to sleep just fine at night.

    I'll make two more comments:

    First, what do you think Jesus would make out of all of this? He probably wouldn't like it because he wasn't white...

    Second, and I reiterate my thought of:
    Think more about your legacy and less about your heritage.

    I guess instead of dialog I might get banned for speaking the truth or asking provocative questions that cause soul searching.

  • Ashley Moore Jun 24, 2015
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    You do realize that a criminal will get his/her hand on a gun regardless of law, right?

  • Clayton Mack Jun 24, 2015
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    Thoughtful people realize this. But that's a battle that'll never be won under a Democratic president.

  • John Snow Jun 24, 2015
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    Rudeness? Try brutal honesty. At least we are trustworthy.

  • Sally Bethune Jun 24, 2015
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    Flags do not kill people, people kill people. What a pathetic consequence that an evil man, be it psychological or just pure evil, kills worshiping souls in a church or a movie theater or an elementary school. We have missed the point. Clearly there is a vast degree of difference as to what the confederate battle flag evokes in peoples' minds, but the undeniable truth is until the North Carolina GA and the rest of the nation make every effort to limit gun sales and keep guns out of the hands of people who desire to do us harm taking down any flag will have no effect. The NC GA has made it easier to get all types of guns, increased the ability to carry guns in more and more places. Taking any flag off a license plate will not save lives! Nor will Walmart and Sears taking Confederate flags off the sheaves but continuing to sell guns is as ridiculous as the rest of the flag situation!