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.
Kirchner’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 the finger gun at later told police that he had felt “extremely threatened” by the gesture.
“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 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.