Much attention has been paid to Virginia’s gun laws after the recent elections put Democrats in control of both houses of the legislature. It should be clarified that gun owners don’t wish to be above the law. Many, if not most, of us stand behind universal background checks and the ability to remove firearms from those who pose a clear danger to society. What we do want is clarification and enhanced definitions of House Bill 4021 before it becomes law next year.

For instance, it defines a semiautomatic rifle as an assault weapon by 13 criteria, allowing a huge number of modern sporting rifles to immediately become illegal. Other guns not meeting very restrictive criteria must be “removed from the commonwealth by July of 2020.” The gun sanctuary movement might be mainly symbolic, but sometimes symbols are worth fighting for.

Anthony Baker, Staunton, Va.

Gun control activists are claiming that the only gun confiscation being considered in Virginia would occur under “red flag” laws. But Senate Bill 16, prefiled for the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly, first broadly defines and then bans “assault firearms .” Unlike other states with assault weapons bans, Virginia’s ban would have no options for grandfathering or buybacks of the newly banned firearms . Owners would become felons overnight unless they turned in their guns. This is effectively confiscation of firearms that were legal at the time of purchase.

Christopher Vargas, Arlington