State Senator Mensch was found guilty in a Berks County court on a citation for disorderly conduct for allegedly flashing a gun at another motorist on I-78. Mensch denies that he ever displayed the firearm.
From what it sounds like, Mensch took his firearm out when the other motorist followed him off the exit and to a gas station. It seems reasonable to me that the other motorist could have seen it. But I do not believe, unless you point or threaten with a firearm (which can also be a more serious charge), that this amounts to disorderly conduct. Given what Mensch described in the trial, his actions do not seem to me to be unreasonable, presuming he is speaking the truth when he says he did not flash the gun in a threatening manner.
Mensch says he will appeal. I think he should. Having a gun where someone can see it obviously is not a crime. It should need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mensch displayed the gun in a threatening manner.
One lesson in all this is that it’s never a wise idea to stop in a road rage scenario. Your vehicle is the best defense you have. If you’re followed off an exit, keep going. If you’re certain the road raging person is following you, call the police. The gun is a last resort in these scenarios.
UPDATE: More here. Seems the other driver claimed Mensch had the gun in his lap. Mensch claims it was a cell phone. The other driver called 911 to report another motorist with a gun. I still say if a gun isn’t displayed in a threatening manner, you don’t have a case of disorderly conduct.