Tags: north carolina | confederate | battle flag | license plate

North Carolina Stops Issuing Confederate Flag License Plates

a pickup truck drives by with an american flag in the flatbed and a confederate flag covering the tailgate
(Jacob Hamilton/AP)

By    |   Monday, 01 February 2021 09:21 PM

North Carolina vehicle owners no longer will be able to order license plates displaying the Confederate flag.

The state's division of motor vehicles said beginning Jan. 1, it stopped issuing and renewing license plates that bore the Confederate flag or any variation of that flag.

"The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has determined that license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag have the potential to offend those who view them," the agency told the Wilmington StarNews in a statement. "We have therefore concluded that display of the Confederate battle flag is inappropriate for display on specialty license plates, which remain property of the state."

North Carolina license plates showing a Confederate flag design had been issued to members within the Sons of Confederate Veterans, according to the StarNews on Monday.

A SCV spokesperson said members had not been aware of the new policy until after they tried to renew their plates this year. He added the organization planned to fight the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles' decision.

The agency said it had reached out unsuccessfully to the SCV about submitting an alternative design for the organization's specialty plate that did not contain the Confederate battle flag.

"Since these efforts have proven unsuccessful so far, the DMV determined the agency would no longer issue or renew these specialty plates," the statement said.

NCDMV previously had confirmed it received complaints about plates bearing the Confederate flag in July 2020, when racial injustice became an intense national issue following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

North Carolina last summer reported it had more than 2,500 active license plates that included the SCV's Confederate flag emblem. That number had increased to 3,015 as of Monday, according to a NCDMV spokesman.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a group founded in 1896 by the United Confederate Veterans, men who fought in the Civil War and wanted to pass on the South's heritage to their descendants.

A ruling in the 1998 court case North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans v. Faulkner gave the SCV the right to qualify for the issuance of specialty license plates.

The NCDMV said its latest decision remains in accordance with the 1998 ruling.

"Consistent with the ruling in North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans v. Faulkner, DMV will continue to recognize the North Carolina Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans ("SCV") as a civic organization entitled to the issuance of a specialty plate," the statement read. "However, SCV's classification as a civic organization does not entitle it to dictate the contents of the government speech on that specialty plate."

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North Carolina vehicle owners no longer will be able to order license plates displaying the Confederate flag.
north carolina, confederate, battle flag, license plate
438
2021-21-01
Monday, 01 February 2021 09:21 PM
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