Q: What legislation, if any, do you think the General Assembly should review as a result of the Virginia Tech shootings?
CAPUTO: First, we must understand that as the investigation continues, legislative solutions may continue to come up. Right now, we must address the root of this problem. How did someone like this continue to fall through every checkpoint we have? We must make sure that our mental health services provide all records to the authorities when it comes to people of ill mental health. With recent revelations about this man not receiving the court-ordered mental treatment, we must also make sure that court orders are carried in a proper and accountable manner.
Q.: Gov. Tim Kaine's recent executive expanded the reasons that residents could be denied a gun to include all people ordered to undergo mental health treatment. The order clarifies that there will be no distinction between those who undergo outpatient or inpatient treatment. Do you agree with this decision?
CAPUTO: Absolutely, Gov. Kaine’s leadership on this issue has been responsive and proper. A hole in the communication between state and federal officials surfaced, and he acted promptly to correct it. I commend the Governor for his actions.
Q.: Currently, citizens can purchase guns from individuals and/or at gun shows in Virginia without a background check. Do you believe this law should be changed?
CAPUTO: This issue needs to be examined. I value the rights of law-abiding citizens, but if a mentally sick and a potentially dangerous individual can purchase weapons to commit crimes or acts terror with relative ease, then our children will not be safe in our schools and our families will not be safe on our streets. Next session, I will fight to protect the rights of citizens that abide by the law, but we must close loopholes that allow potentially dangerous individuals to purchase weapons at these shows with relative ease.
Q.: Should the ban on firearms on college campuses be lifted?
CAPUTO: Absolutely not; guns do not belong in our classrooms. We have a zero-tolerance policy for a reason. If an individual is seen with a gun in a classroom or on school grounds he or she is breaking the law. Law enforcement should not have to stop them and ask to see a permit.
Q.: Should local jurisdictions in Virginia — including counties and cities — be given more control over firearm policies?
CAPUTO: One of my concerns is that with my district split between two counties, a law-abiding citizen could be traveling between the two localities and be in violation of the law in one county but not the other. There may be a regional approach to this method, but we have to be careful about adding another layer of bureaucracy. I still believe that it is the federal and state governments’ responsibility to address primary fire arm laws.