The Member of Parliament for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound says constituents continue to contact him with concerns about the federal Liberal Party's approach to guns.
Alex Ruff says committee discussions about Bill C-21 have spiraled out of control, largely because many committee members lack familiarity on the issues of gun control in Canada, ignorance of existing laws and an incorrect belief that an American-style gun culture exists north of the border.
"Half of it is ignorance" said Ruff, who has personally offered to pay for any committee member to take the Canadian Firearm Safety Course. "Everybody wants Canada to be as safe as possible, but the issue is that they don't understand that what they're proposing won't do anything. Criminals are already breaking the law."
Ruff, a 25-year military veteran with the Canadian Armed Forces, confirms he took the firearm safety course himself in January 2020, noting he got 100 per cent on the practical portion, and 96 per cent on the written portion.
"The written portion dealt with very restrictive laws. I learned a lot, and became more educated and aware of how safe we are, and how many regulations we already have in Canada," he said. "It's beneficial for anyone that wants to learn more."
Ruff says his party continues to seek clarity from the Liberals on the proposed legislation, including "what exactly they mean when they say military-style assault rifles, something I've been asking about for years, and also brought up during safety committee discussions about Bill C-21."
According to Statistics Canada, licenced gun owners are between three and five times less likely to commit murder than the average citizen who does not have a firearms licence, something Ruff says the federal Liberals continue to ignore by proposing legislation like Bill C-21, which he says does nothing to address the root problems related to gun issues and crime in Canada.
"The majority of firearms used in crimes, around 85 per cent, are illegal handguns smuggled in from the United States, but this legislation is targeting law-abiding gun owners, and will not address this violence." said Ruff.
Bill C-21 is still far from becoming law, with the Public Safety standing committee considering extensive amendments, and the bill is not expected to be back before the House of Commons until mid-to-late February at the earliest.
During Question Period on December 13, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government "will continue to consult with Canadians on the proposed list of guns to ban," noting that they are "not interested in going after guns that are typically used for hunting and protecting farms."
In the committee's final meeting before Parliament broke for the Holiday season, New Democratic Party MP Alistair McGregor said the Liberal party's introduction of an amendment of this size to Bill C-21 put a ton of work on the plates of opposition MPs, something he says should have been done by the government, calling the amendment a "complete and total abuse of process" and "another tragically-failed Liberal policy."