PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A bill that would ban the sale of assault-style weapons in Rhode Island was introduced Tuesday.

Gov. Dan McKee and other state leaders held a news conference formally announcing the legislation that would ban the sale, manufacture, and transfer of assault weapons.

“I want to say this loud and clear: Rhode Island is ready for an assault weapons ban to help keep our communities safe,” McKee said. “As governor, I’m ready to sign that bill into law.”

Violators would face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000 and the guns would be confiscated.

Gun rights advocate Brenda Jacob, of the Rhode Island Revolver and Rifle Association, said the state is using law-abiding citizens as pawns in the issue.

“They keep saying, promoting how they want everyone to feel safe in their home,” Jacob said. “Well you know what? I feel safer with a firearm in my home.”

Watch: McKee and other local leaders announce the bill (Story continues below.)

R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha pushed back on the claim.

“What we often hear when we are proposing new legislation is we’re turning law-abiding citizens into criminals,” Neronha said. “That’s not what this legislation does and it’s not what any previous legislation has done.”

A spokesperson for R.I. House Speaker Joe Shekarchi said the speaker is keeping an open mind on the issue. After the bill is introduced, it will be assigned to a committee and the public will have the opportunity to testify. 

“Like all legislation that comes before the Senate, this proposal will receive an extensive review through the committee process,” Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said.

In 2022, McKee signed three high-profile gun control measures into law, including the ban on high-capacity magazines containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition and raising the age to buy a gun or ammunition from 18 to 21.

McKee had previously filed a proposed assault weapons ban in 2021 but it never got a vote.

“Let’s have our hearings again, we’re gonna have people come out pro and con, and let’s put the issue up for a vote, because I guarantee that is what Rhode Island wants,” Rep. Jason Knight, who is a bill sponsor, said.

R.I. Senate Minority Leader Jessica de la Cruz said the bill would erode the state Constitution and the Second Amendment.

“This law will penalize law-abiding firearm owners,” de la Cruz said. “What we need is to enforce the laws already on the books and not allow violent criminals to walk our streets.”

If passed, Rhode Island would become the tenth state to pass a law banning the sale, manufacture, and transfer of assault weapons.