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Man Faces Charges for Pointing “Finger Gun” at Neighbor During Argument

With gun crime so frequent in the United States these days, even making a gun gesture with your hand can put some people on edge. A Pennsylvania man found that out the hard way after being charged with disorderly conduct for pointing a “finger gun” at another man during an argument.

The bizarre incident took place in June 2018, when, according to surveillance footage, 64-year-old Stephen Kirchner was walking with his girlfriend on a street in Manor Township, Pennsylvania. The woman reportedly had a no contact order against one of her neighbors, and when the couple walked by the neighbor’s residence, Kirchner stopped, turned around, formed a finger gun with his thumb and forefinger, pointed it at the neighbor and pulled the imaginary trigger. Little did he know that the gesture would lead to a year-long litigation.

The 64-year-old’s finger gun was apparently so disturbing to bystanders in the area that some of them actually called the police about it. To make matters worse, the neighbor he pointed he finger gun at later told police that he had felt “extremely threatened” by the gesture. Kirchner himself admitted that he knew his gesture would only inflame tensions, but he later learned that it was actually a crime.

Photo: video screengrab

“I’m 64 years old, never had of anything not even a traffic ticket,” Stephen Kirchner told reporters, adding that he was only sticking up for his girlfriend, and that his gesture was a response to the neighbor showing them the middle finger with both hands.

“The bar has now been lowered for what constitutes disorderly conduct,”, Kirchner’s girlfriend, Elaine Keeno, added.

“And he pointed his finger out like he was going to shoot somebody. So I went and called the cops cause you just don’t know now a days,” the person who noticed Kirchner’s finger gun pointing at his girlfriend’s neighbor and later called the police, said.

 

Last year, county Judge Howard F. Knisely found that Kirchner’s act wasn’t harmless, arguing that it “created a hazardous condition”. Kirchner faced disorderly conduct charges and appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court where the original ruling was recently upheld.

The Superior Court panel agreed that the man’s finger gun gesture had created a situation that made a bystander call the police and ordered Kirchner to pay a $100 fine and court costs.

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