A Missouri man has landed in jail on a weapons charge after police say he pulled a gun on a local Democratic activist because he disliked her bumper stickers supporting liberal causes.
Edward Burns, 48, of Ozark, was arrested in late August in connection to a suspected road-rage incident, according to court documents.
The confrontation began unfolding on the morning of August 24 when police in Ozark got a call about a two-vehicle crash that occurred as part of a confrontation between two drivers, one of whom was possibly armed.
Deep divide: Edward Burns (left), 48, of Missouri, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon for pointing a gun at Democratic activist Laura Umphenour, 62 (right) over her decals
Sticky situation: These are the bumper stickers pictured on the back of Umphenour’s van, which apparently sparked the armed road-rage incident on August 24
When Burns allegedly pointed a gun at Umphenour, she lost control of her Nissan Sienna and crashed into his SUV
Umphenour then careened across the road and smashed into a guardrail, causing her front bumper to fall off (pictured)
According to a probable cause statement obtained by Springfield News Leader, one of the drivers was Burns and the other was a locally known Democratic activist Laura Umphenour.
Both Umphenour and Burns ‘exchanged offensive hand gestures,’ and according to the court papers, at one point Umphenour, 62, pulled up beside Burns’ car and showed him the middle finger.
That is when the 48-year-old married father took out his Smith & Wesson .380 handgun and pointed it at the woman, according to police.
Fearing for her life, Umphenour sharply turned the steering wheel of her Nissan Sienna, lost control and smashed into the front of Burns’ SUV, then careened across the road and crashed into a guardrail.
When interviewed by police, Burns admitted that he made a ‘bad decision’ by pulling the gun on Umphenour, but he also defended his actions by saying that he wanted to get the woman to ‘back off.’
‘During his confession he noted several political decals, which expressed a different political view than his own, on the rear of [Umphenour’s] van, which he thought were stupid,’ read the statement.
Burn, a 48-year-old married father (pictured left with his wife on Halloween), told police he reached for his gun because he was angry at Umphenour for flipping him off
Vocal critic: Umphenour, pictured above posing with an unflattering Donald Trump effigy, has been a fierce critic of the president
Umphenour has long been a fixture in local protests opposing the Republican agenda and supporting liberal causes. Here, she is seen holding a sign mocking Trump
The 48-year-old American Cancer Society volunteer also said that he got very angry when Umphenour flipped him off.
According to police, Burns told them he pulled the gun on the woman so that she would know ‘not to mess with him.’
Burns was arrested on a charge of unlawful use of a weapon, to which he pleaded not guilty the next day. After spending a few days in jail, he was released on $5,000 bond.
Umphenour wrote on her Facebook page after the incident that she was left feeling sore as a result of the collision and had to get a CT scan.
She also revealed that one of the rude hand gestures that Burns had allegedly flashed at her during the initial road-rage confrontation was the ‘L’ sign, presumably standing for ‘loser,’ which Umphenour has attributed to her anti-Trump, pro-Democratic decals plastered all over her trunk.
Burns, an American Cancer Society volunteer (pictured left and right), has pleaded not guilty to the weapons charge. Umphenour plans to sue him in civil court
A photo of the woman’s Nissan van posted on her Facebook page shows a collection of more than a dozen bumper stickers, including ‘Hillary 2016’; ‘Resist’; ‘Not my president or yours either’; ‘Do you keep hearing crazy voices? Turn off Fox News,’ and ‘Because of my faith I vote for Democrats,’ among others.
Umphenour, a married mother and grandmother, is a local animal rights activist who has emerged as a vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s policies.
In July, Umphenour took part in a ‘die-in’ outside the office of a Republican US senator from Missouri to protest against the American Health Care Act.
After the deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white nationalists and antifascist protesters last month, Umphenour participated in a rally outside the Springfield City Hall to show solidarity with those who oppose white nationalism.
In the wake of the armed road-rage clash, Umphenour has retained an attorney and now plans to file a civil lawsuit agaisnt Burns.