Confederate emblem debate heats up in Mississippi

Confederate emblem debate heats up in Mississippi

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Confederate flag debate in South Carolina has now become a debate in Mississippi.

On Monday, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said the confederate emblem in the state's flag needed to be removed. Though Gov. Phil Bryant said the people have made their decision.

"The people voted on this flag in 2001," Bryant said. "It was on the ballot (and) overwhelmingly supported the current flag in the state of Mississippi. I don't think we need to go about trying to supersede the will of the people."

Several presidential candidates have also given their opinion on the confederate symbol.

"I'd vote to come up with another flag in light of this shooting that's what I would do but I'll leave it to the people in Mississippi," said Lindsey Graham, a U.S. senator and a 2016 presidential candidate.

The debate arrived over the weekend after the church shooting in Charleston and the push to take the Confederate flag down from its state's capitol grounds.

In Mississippi, a petition has been created to seek the removal of the confederate emblem from the state's official banner. The petition has received more than 12,000 signatures.

"If it helps to remove it then fine, but I don't think that that's what's going to make the difference," said one Pine Belt resident.

"It takes your mind back to slavery and when people were under bondage and everything," said another resident.

While some Pine Belt residents are for it, others say there should not be a change in the flag.

"It's been there for years," said one Laurel resident. "It's our state's emblem, we should be proud of it."

"If that history can be changed and taken off, I believe that other things in history can be changed and taken off that shouldn't be," said another resident.