Following the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso, the President ordered the nation’s flags to be flown at half staff for a period of time to honor the victims. This order was followed pretty much universally across the country. But in the San Francisco suburb of San Rafael, they’re doing something a little different. The Mayor there has stated that not only have the flags been lowered, but they will remain at half staff until Congress passes some meaningful gun control measures. (CBS San Francisco)
Communities across the country have lowered their flags to half staff to honor the victims of the mass shootings, but one Bay Area city plans to keep them down as an act of protest.
San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips honored President Trump’s request to lower flags to half staff. But then he added something extra.
“My specific charge was, don’t move it back up until I give a green light,” he said.
Mayor Phillips says he’s sick of raising and lowering the flag with each new atrocity. For now, at least in San Rafael, the flags will stay down until something is done about it.
So what specific gun control measure is Mayor Phillips demanding before he will hoist the flags to their proper position again? He’s not saying. In his own words, that’s Congress’ job to figure out, not his.
In other words, this mayor has no solution in mind. He’s just demanding that somebody do something, even if it has no chance of preventing future shootings. I wonder if this was his fallback position after realizing he wouldn’t be able to hold his breath that long?
I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this to Hizzoner yet, but he’s technically in violation of the U.S. Flag Code. The only people authorized to order the lowering of the Stars and Stripes are the President, the Governors of each state (only applicable to their own state) and the Mayor of Washington, D.C. Nobody else has that authority. When Phillips lowered the flags under the President’s order, he was doing his job. When that period ended, continuing the fly the flag at half staff became a violation.
Of course, the Mayor probably isn’t too worried about breaking the rules. The flag code actually is embedded in law, specifically Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 7. But that statute carries no provisions for punishment if you violate the rules. They’re basically guidelines for proper handling of the flag. But the Mayor is still being a jerk about this. That’s the flag of his country, not just San Rafael.