Harvard Student Ordered to Move Out Over Legally-Owned Guns
Coming back from a weekend trip turned out to be a nightmare for one Harvard University graduate student. Leyla Pirnie received a letter from the owner of her apartment complex stating it would be best if she left. Roommates at Harvard University were “uncomfortable” with their one roommate from the south who owned a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat, so they secretly searched through her room and found legally-owned guns.
Pirnie says her roommates invaded her privacy, having searched her room while she was away. Even though there have been no incidents since she’s been living in the apartment, Leyla makes her roommates very nervous… She owns a MAGA hat.
“A few weeks ago, I came back to my apartment from a weekend trip and was confronted by one of my roommates who asked if I had guns in the house,” Leyla Pirnie, 24, said. “After being told far too many lies to count, my roommates finally admitted that they searched my closet, under my bed, and all of my drawers in pursuit of finding my guns.”
While she was given several different explanations for why the roommates entered and searched her room, the 24-year-old said she felt her political beliefs and where she is from played a significant role in the roommates’ actions.
“When I asked them why they were in my room, to begin with, they each came up with completely contradicting stories (none of which made any sense), but one comment struck me in particular: ‘We saw that you had a MAGA hat and come on, you’re from Alabama… so we just kind of assumed that you had something,’” she said.
“I asked why they didn’t just call me and ask me before intruding. One of the girls responded that fear took over her body and she felt compelled to search my room until she found proof… I cannot make this up.”
Pirnie is appalled the group searched her private space to find the weapons after becoming suspicious when they saw she owned a Make America Great Again cap.
In spite of the fact that Pirnie explained to her roommates she was a legal gun owner and was trained in the safe handling of firearms, they didn’t care and were more concerned that the guns “might go off on their own” or that someone would break in and turn the guns on them.
Harvard student and legal gun owner asked to find a new apartment by landlord. Right to privacy gone. pic.twitter.com/ZHidpxYJre— Kaya Jones (@KayaJones) December 1, 2018
After what happened, one of the roommates emailed Dave Lewis, president of Avid Management, requesting him to verify that Pirnie was in compliance with applicable firearms laws.
“We discussed with Leyla that all of us are uncomfortable with having firearms in the house, and that their presence causes anxiety and deprives us of the quiet enjoyment of the premise to which we are entitled,” a roommate wrote in an email to Lewis, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
In response to the email from Pirnie’s roommate, the landlord contacted Captain James Donovan of the Somerville Police Department to make sure the guns Pirnie owned followed Massachusetts law, which they did. Lewis acknowledged the department’s conclusion that Pirnie was not breaking any gun laws in his email telling Pirnie to move out.
However, Lewis told Pirnie in an email that despite the police’s conclusion, she had to move out.
“Since it’s clear that Leyla wants to keep her firearms, it would be best for all parties if she finds another place to live,” Lewis wrote.
“My landlord’s e-mail, though carefully crafted, showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms,” the girl said.
She said her landlord’s concern over some of her roommates being uncomfortable with legally owned firearms is misplaced and his request that she move out is inappropriate.
“What I find uncomfortable is coming home to find out that six people I barely know went into my bedroom without permission and went through every single one of my drawers, without any regard to my privacy whatsoever,” she said.
“Nobody has bothered to question, ‘Well, why do you want to have protection? Could it be because you’ve experienced something where you need to protect yourself as you see fit?’ I have a real and legitimate reason as to why I want to protect myself.”
She really does. While an undergrad, she said she was in a physically abusive relationship. She said the experience is part of what drives her to be armed.
Pirnie rejected Lewis’ request that she moves out in the middle of exams but then received a threat from the landlord that it “was based strictly on practical and not ideological (sic) terms,” adding that if she didn’t move out and her roommates did, she would have to pay the full rent, according to the Beacon.
“If the other roommates were to move out, Leyla would need to find roommates to share the place or foot the entire $6000+ monthly rent herself,” Lewis wrote in an email to Pirnie and her father. “Obviously it would be much easier for the others to stay and just fill one room (and I’m confident—were this to happen—that the remaining housemates will release Leyla from any further responsibility under the lease) and that’s why I proposed what I did.”
So, if she or her roommates move out, she would suffer a great loss; whether financially or emotionally.
Pirnie feels she’s being punished for being a gun owner and says she is ‘very much being threatened out of her apartment.’
“Either I leave and incur moving expenses, or my roommates move, and I incur their rent expenses… Doesn’t seem right.
“Not only is this a blatant violation of my privacy, but it’s also a violation of my rights.”
Harvard graduate student was asked to move out of her apartment because she owned firearms (legally).— Brenna Spencer (@BrennaSpencer) November 30, 2018
When she was not home her roommates searched her room and found her guns.
If anyone knows Leyla Pirnie, tell her to DM me
@SouthernKeeks Hey, I have a favor to ask. If you know or learn of any fundraising for Leyla Pirnie, could you please pass it on to me? Thank you in advance.— Major (@MajorDog524) December 1, 2018
Hey Leyla Pirnie, just come to New Hampshire. I lived here so I could keep my guns while at Harvard. https://t.co/6b26HVCGiy— Clays & Birds (@ClaysandBirds) November 30, 2018
A female gun owner, who chooses to arm herself due to past violent relationships, is facing eviction after her roommates broke into her room (bc they saw her MAGA hat) & found legally owned firearms. Please help me contact Leyla Pirnie. This is disgusting!https://t.co/e3uJTpN77I— Kaitlin Bennett (@KaitMarieox) December 1, 2018