Pennsylvania court rules man's 'gunlike hand gesture' toward neighbor was a crime

Pennsylvania court rules man’s ‘gunlike hand gesture’ toward neighbor was a crime

A man in Lancaster County who made a “gun-like hand gesture” at his neighbor committed a crime, according to a Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling.

A Pennsylvania court ruled Tuesday that making a “gunlike hand gesture” is a crime after a man made the hand motion during an argument with his neighbor — an act which reportedly made several nearby residents nervous and prompted a call to police.

64-year-old Stephen Kirchner of Manor Township was charged with summary disorderly conduct for the gesture, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office. The gesture prompted the neighbor to call 911. (Surveillance video of the hand gesture can be seen below.)

Kirchner and the female neighbor Kirchner had been walking with previously had issues and confrontations, sparking the neighbor to install six security cameras on his property. At the time of the incident in 2018, the female neighbor had a “no contact” order against the neighbor who felt threatened, court documents indicate.

Kirchner was issued a citation for disorderly conduct following the incident. He said in district court he made the “gunlike” gesture after his neighbor gave him “the finger with both hands.”

The 64-year-old was found guilty, but appealed, arguing the hand gesture didn’t “create a hazardous or physically offensive condition.” Kirchner said he didn’t mean to cause public alarm, and there wasn’t really any harm done to the neighbor or others.

On Tuesday, however, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania found the gesture “served no legitimate purpose, and recklessly risked provoking a dangerous altercation.”

Kirchner was ordered to pay a $100 fine and court costs.

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