KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - A Kalamazoo police officer is creating an international controversy, pitting Michigan's gun laws against those in Canada.
The off-duty police officer sent a letter to the editor of a Calgary newspaper criticizing Canada's ban on carrying concealed guns.
Walt Wawra and his wife were walking in Nose Hill Park near Calgary. In accordance with Canada law, he didn't have his gun on him.
That's when they were approached by what Wawra called "two aggressive men."
The men reportedly stood in the couple's way, and repeatedly asked if they had been to the well-known "Calgary Stampede" rodeo there.
"What concerned me is two young men just approached us and stopping us just by being in our paths and talking to us without being welcomed to talk to us and taking it upon themselves to yell at us," Wawra told CBC over the phone.
Wawra ignored the men at first, but then said he had to step between the two men and his wife when they got more aggressive.
"I can only speculate what these gentlemen had in mind. I think I'm safe to say they didn't have good tidings for us," he said.
He says he felt unprotected without the use of his gun. In the letter to the editor, he called out Canadian gun laws, saying, "only the criminals and the police carry handguns."
Canadians are reacting strongly on social media, calling Wawra a "gun-loving" cop who personifies the United States' "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality.
But Wawra says he doesn't regret writing the letter.
"What prompted me to write the letter is that I think every man should be able to protect his wife and his family, up to and including deadly force if it's necessary at the time," he told CBC. "My training tells me that people that are out to do good things normally don't approach you in such an aggressive manner or stop you like that, and usually refer to you respectfully."
He told 24 Hour News 8 he plans to write another letter further explaining his side of the incident.
The newspaper in Calgary is now reporting that those men may have been paid to give away free tickets to the event.
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