Gun-like hand gesture deemed crime by a Pennsylvania Superior court

A Lancaster County P.A. man who imitated shooting a pistol at his neighbor was found to have committed a crime by a State Superior Court.

Stephen Kirchner, 64, was found guilty in a district court last year of disorderly conduct.

Kirchner appealed the verdict, arguing that the evidence presented at trial was did not establish that making a hand gesture in the form of a gun creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition. Therefore, he argued, the evidence is insufficient to support the disorderly conduct charge. He also argued that his hand gesture could never be mistaken for an actual firearm, so it was no worse than any other hand gesture.

However, the Pennsylvania state appeals court ruled this week that “given the history of the parties involved,” making the gesture did amount to disorderly conduct because it created a “hazardous condition … involving danger or risk,” including “the risk of an altercation.”


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