Pennsylvania Man Charged With Crime For His ‘Gun-Like Hand Gesture’
According to a Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling, pointing a “gun-like hand gesture” towards someone is considered a crime.
Stephen Kirchner was walking with Elaine Natore when they passed Josh Klingseisen, who was outside doing lawn work. When Kirchner and Klingseisen made eye contact, Klingseisen flipped him the bird with both hands. Kirchner made a hand gesture, pointing his finger like a gun and “made a recoil motion as if to suggest he had shot him,” according to the Pennsylvania Superior Court records.
The incident was filmed by Klingseisen’s cameras which he had installed at his home “due to ongoing confrontations between him and Natore,” the court said.
The court ruled this week that Kirchner’s hand gesture “served no legitimate purpose, and recklessly risked provoking a dangerous altercation.”
On Tuesday, Judge Maria McLaughlin wrote, “We conclude that there was sufficient evidence that Kirchner’s act of mimicking his shooting Klingseisen created a hazardous condition.” Kirchner was fined $100 plus court costs for his disorderly conduct conviction.
Finger guns may seem harmless, but to school administrators or police officers if the person on the receiving end of the hand gesture feels threatened, it can be considered a criminal offense.
In 2017, an ex-convict was arrested for disorderly conduct for making a finger gun gesture to an off-duty Florida police officer.
Last year in Ohio, a 58-year-old man was arrested for making the finger gun gesture to a driver in front of him.