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Letters to the Editor

LETTER: 'Know what we don't know'

To the Editor:

In the 1980s, I learned a few things about mental aberrations and gun laws. A family member became violently out of control. So much so that eventually police had to subdue her and take her to the psychiatric ward at the community hospital.

At the time, Illinois had a law prohibiting gun ownership by anyone who was sent to a psychiatric facility because of violent behavior.

Also at that time, Illinois was one of 48 states that allowed psychiatric patients to sign themselves out of care after 24 hours even if their stay was court-ordered. That gave the police only 24 hours to get a warrant to remove guns from her possession, which they were able to do.

Sometimes, that doesn't happen. Laws are only effective if they can and will be enforced. (Our current immigration laws being defied by outlaw cities and states are a case in point.)

Before enacting laws, their possible impact should be closely studied. Unfortunately, we often do not keep track of all pertinent data. We study what goes wrong but not what goes right. We do not keep records of the times police and citizens use guns to keep harm from being done. Even more, a dishonest media has been documented not reporting when this happens. We will never get effective and enforceable law if we do not attempt to understand completely ... to "know what we don't know."

LOIS I. SPIZZIRRI, of Somonauk

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