INDIANAPOLIS—The 2020 legislative session has officially begun, and State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) has authored several bills to improve the health and safety of Hoosiers across the state. The following proposals are the top priorities for Sen. Stoops this session:

Universal background checks for firearms

Senate Bill (SB) 28 would require anyone wishing to sell, trade or transfer a firearm to complete the transaction through a licensed firearms dealer. The bill also provides that a dealer may not complete a sale if the seller or recipient of the firearm is not eligible to own a firearm, or if the firearm is reported lost, stolen or used in a crime.

“Universal background checks are one of the most supported measures when it comes to gun safety legislation. In Indiana, 90 percent of Hoosiers support background checks,” Sen Stoops said. “Right now, state law has a loophole that allows individuals to bypass background checks, such as at gun shows, and my bill would stop that from happening. It’s important that all firearm owners first undergo a background check.”

Storage of firearms

Sen. Stoops has also authored SB 29 to address the safe storage of firearms. Under this proposal, gun owners would be required to secure their firearms if there is a reasonable expectation that a child could gain access to them. Any harm or injury caused by a child gaining access to a weapon due to the gun owner’s failure to properly secure it would be a Level 6 felony.

“Stopping preventable gun deaths is one of the Indiana Senate Democrats’ top priorities this legislative session,” Sen. Stoops said. “Both SB 28 and 29 would help achieve this goal and ensure the safety of all Hoosiers. SB 29 is really a child safety bill. It would help prevent these horrible accidents we keep seeing in the news of children who have accessed firearms and harmed themselves or others.”

Medical marijuana for the terminally ill

SB 103 would legalize the possession of marijuana for individuals who are suffering from a terminal illness.

“In many states, individuals suffering from terminal illnesses are able to use medical marijuana to alleviate their pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, Hoosiers are denied that option in Indiana,” Sen. Stoops said. “My bill would simply allow medical marijuana to be made legal for individuals who have a note from their physician certifying they have a terminal illness.”

Committee Assignments

Sen. Stoops serves as the Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee.  He also serves on the Senate Commerce and Technology, Education and Career Development, Tax and Fiscal Policy, and Utilities Committees.