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

gunlike hand gesture

A Pennsylvania court said 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.

Stephen Kirchner, 64, made the gesture toward his neighbor in Manor Township in June 2018, according to surveillance video. Kirchner, walking alongside a female neighbor, “stopped, made eye contact with [the male neighbor] and then made a hand gesture at him copying the firing and recoiling of a gun,” according to court documents.

The action made one neighbor feel “extremely threatened” and he called 911. Another neighbor said she saw Kirchner “put his finger up like he was going to shoot [the neighbor]”, “insecure,” forcing her to call 911.

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.

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

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


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Philip O'Connor

A legal professional by education, and a stickler for rules, Philip brings rules and regulations within check for our website. He portrays the legal pitfalls, court injustices, as well as the status for high power criminal proceedings that are making waves across the globe. He also delves into human rights violations and all regulatory policies that affect the daily life of citizens of the nation.

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