Why are the nation’s flags not lowered following the Chattanooga shooting?

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UPDATE: On Tuesday, July 21, the day after this report, President Obama issued an order for all flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor the Chattanooga servicemen.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - While the nation mourned the five service members killed in Chattanooga, despite the tragedy, President Obama has not issued an order to lower American flags to half-staff.

Several governors have taken that step on their own, but there's been no national mandate from the White House.

You may remember on Friday, the American flag was lowered to half-staff outside city hall in Springfield, Massachusetts for Thomas Sullivan.

WHNT News 19 did some research to provide context for that decision.

Now just instinctively, it's easy to understand why people might feel uneasy about the decision to not lower the flag to half-staff. But actually, the flag isn't lowered as often as you might imagine.

Senate guidance on the flag lists out that the flag should be lowered to honor government leaders and dignitaries who pass, but it doesn't actually mention anything to do with moments of violence. However, it does give the president discretion.

But that discretion is not used very frequently.  In the last four years, the flag has only been lowered six times following violent events in the U.S.

Those include: the Navy Yard shooting; the Sandy Hook elementary shooting; the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting; the Boston bombing; the Oak Creek Temple shooting in Wisconsin; and the Tucson shooting that wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Each of these tragedies had at least 10 casualties.

It's also worth noting that in 2009, the president ordered the flag lowered following the Fort Hood shooting that killed 13 people, but in 2014, he did not lower the flags for the Fort Hood shooting where a gunman killed three people.

Also, the president did not lower the flags just weeks ago when a gunman killed nine churchgoers in their house of worship in Charleston, South Carolina.

That is just a little context of when we have dipped the flag for violence.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at a press briefing Monday, "...you've heard the President talk about this issue once last week where he offered his sincere condolences to the families of those who were killed in this attack.  I would anticipate that you'll hear the President discuss this a little bit more in his remarks to the VFW tomorrow.  I don't have more information about the status of the flag over the White House."

We also reached out to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, as he too has some discretion over flags in his state. His office promised us an answer, but we haven't gotten it yet.