Indiana residents in favor of stronger gun laws are optimistic that 2019 will be the year that background checks are expanded. A pair of bills were introduced in the U-S House and Senate (H.R. 8/S. 42) that would extend the federal background-check requirement to all gun sales, including private sales. However, Edmund Smith with Hoosiers Concerned about Gun Violence explains there’s a similar effort at the statehouse. Senate Bill 307, introduced by State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington), would require the sale or purchase of firearms to have to be completed through a licensed state dealer, with a background check. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Opponents say the state and federal bills go too far, and essentially make it a crime to hand a firearm to another person. While supporters say background checks will keep lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, opponents counter that research is inconclusive on the effectiveness of background checks. Also in the U-S Senate, more than two dozen senators cosponsored the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2019” (S.66), which would ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. However, Smith is not confident the bill will go far. The legislation would expand upon a past assault-weapons ban that was in effect for ten years but not renewed.