Raleigh, N.C. — As the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory work out how to stop issuing license plates depicting the Confederate battle flag, the number of requests for the plates saw a slight increase this week.
According to the state Department of Transportation, 33 people were waiting on plates with the emblem of the Sons of Confederate Veterans as of Thursday, compared with two or three last week. The uptick comes after a McCrory spokesman said Tuesday that "the time is right" to stop issuing the license plates.
Debate over Confederate imagery has intensified in Southern states after nine people were shot and killed at a Bible study meeting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., last week. Authorities charged a 21-year-old white supremacist, who posed in online photos with both the Confederate battle flag and patches of apartheid South Africa and white-controlled Rhodesia, with the shootings.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called Monday for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the capitol grounds in Columbia, S.C. The governor of Alabama ordered the flags taken down at his state capitol's Confederate memorial, and Mississippi lawmakers are exploring the removal of the battle flag image from that state's flag.
In North Carolina, there are 2,064 Sons of Confederate Veterans plates currently on the road.
DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said they're not actually meant for the general public but are intended for members of SCV. It's one of 12 types of "civic club" plates available from the state Division of Motor Vehicles featuring the official emblems of each associated group.