Superior Court: Lancaster County man’s ‘gun-like hand gesture’ toward neighbor was a crime

LANCASTER COUNTY — The Pennsylvania Superior Court issued ruling this week that the “gun-like hand gesture” a Lancaster County man made toward his neighbor last year was indeed a crime, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Stephen T. Kirchner, 64, of Manor Township, was charged last year with disorderly conduct after making the gesture, which prompted his neighbor to call 911, authorities say.

Kirchner appealed the district court’s conviction of the summary offense, but the conviction was upheld by a Lancaster County judge.

Kirchner appealed that ruling to the state appellate court, arguing his gesture did not cause a hazardous or physically offensive condition, that he did not intend to cause public alarm, and that there was essentially no harm done to the victim or society.

But the state appellate court ruled that Kirchner’s gesture “caused the very harm sought to be prevented by the law,” and his gesture, “imitating the firing and recoiling of a gun,” presented a risk of altercation, noting that the neighbor felt insecure enough to call 911.

Authorities say there was a history of ongoing confrontation between the victim and a female acquaintance of Kirchner. The female acquaintance has a “no contact” order against the victim, authorities say.

As a result of their contentious history, the victim installed six video cameras prior to the incident, and the hand gesture was recorded on June 7, 2018.

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

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