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Bob Mensch Guilty in Summary Charge

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.

8 Responses to “Bob Mensch Guilty in Summary Charge”

  1. David says:

    Summary appeals in Berks are, or at least were, going in front of Judge Jeffery Sprecher. Sprecher is famous for his beer is not beer ruling, where where he found for a defendant in an underage drinking case where the state had not proven that the liquid in the beer can was in fact an alcoholic beverage.

    http://internetservices.readingeagle.com/blog/gavel/archives/2006/02/revisiting_a_be_1.html

  2. denton says:

    We had sort of a similar case here in Utah a few years ago. A motorist was speeding through a residential neighborhood. Several neighborhood fathers found this offensive and stopped him. During the stop, words were exchanged. One of the offended fathers threateningly picked up a large stone, which qualifies as a deadly weapon. Speeding motorist unholstered his firearm, moving it to his lap, and was charged. Speeding motorist beat the rap. The court ruled that under the circumstances it was OK for him to move his firearm from his holster to a place where it was more easily accessible.

  3. mobo says:

    How was he supposed to call the police when it’s illegal to talk on the cellphone while driving? :)

    Seriously though, why would the other motorist continue to follow him AFTER seeing the firearm AND calling the police, if Mench’s actions were so reckless? Sounds to me like the guy deserves to get punched in the face for getting the police involved.

  4. David says:

    “How was he supposed to call the police when it’s illegal to talk on the cellphone while driving? :)”

    Not it PA, it’s still legal here.

  5. Ian Argent says:

    Take-away lesson for me; if you’re planning to drive any significant distance, make sure you carry in such a manner that your defensive weapon may be concealed until necessary. Shoulder holster, high strong-side carry, chest pocket, what have you if you carry on body, or a under-dash rig. So that you can testify that there is no way anyone could have seen your weapon…

    That, and normalize carrying. Man with a gun should be a non-event; and anyone disturbed by that should have their motives qustioned…

  6. I’ve read before -that the first one to call the police is assumed to be the victim and gets to set the initial narrative. 911 callers = victims, people that get called on = probable perps.

    I wonder if this is a case of that in action.

  7. Ian Argent says:

    Could be a factor

  8. David says:

    DJ Andrea Book is not too bright. She only won the election by being a popular soccer mom. She is basically clueless. Wait for the appeal. We’ll see how much the so called victim likes being dragged into court to make statements.

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