A Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Tuesday that a man committed a crime when he made a “gun-like hand gesture” toward his neighbor during a spat, saying the man “risked an altercation” with his actions.
WTAE-TV reported Manor Township resident Stephen Kirchner, 64, was charged last year for summary disorderly conduct after making the gesture toward a neighbor who subsequently called the cops. Kirchner was found guilty.
According to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, “Kirchner argued on appeal that the gesture did not cause a hazardous or physically offensive condition, that he did not intend to cause public alarm, and that there essentially was no harm done to the victim or society.”
Kirchner told WGAL-TV all he meant was “right back at ya” to his neighbor, who he says made an offensive gesture toward Kirchner first by flipping him off “with both hands,” Fox News reported.
Court documents stated that Kirchner had “stopped, made eye contact with [the neighbor] and then made a hand gesture at him imitating the firing and recoiling of a gun.”
Apparently, Kirchner and the neighbor had been involved in an ongoing feud, and the neighbor had installed video cameras because of the tension. Kirchner’s gesture was caught on the surveillance footage.
The Superior Court found that Kirchner’s actions “served no legitimate purpose, and recklessly risked provoking a dangerous situation.” He was hit with a $100 fine and also ordered to pay court costs.