WAVY – SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – It is now illegal to drive with Virginia license plates featuring the Confederate flag, but some plan to defy the change in the Commonwealth.
Kevin Collier of Suffolk is a commander of the Stonewall Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He received a letter last month telling him he had until October 4 to swap out his Confederate flag license plate with a new one without the flag, provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Governor Terry McAuliffe called for the change this summer after a man pictured posing with the flag was accused of killing 9 African-Americans in a South Carolina church. Collier has missed the deadline to change plates and said he doesn't plan to.
"Next thing you know, they're going to say you can't wear blue on Monday…or you can't wear yellow on Thursday. Where's it going to end?" Collier said.
The DMV said of 1,600 people in Collier's situation, only 187 have returned the old plates. Some who didn't want the new ones sent them back, writing "no thank you," the department said.
Collier said his great-great-great grandfather fought with the Confederacy.
"I can't fight on the battlefield like they did, but I can fight however I can in modern times and I'm not giving them plates up," he said.
The DMV said it attempted to work with the Sons of Confederate Veterans on the design of the new plate, but the organization did not respond. It is considered a misdemeanor to drive with them.