Washington Free Beacon reported Friday that a Harvard University graduate student was asked to move out of her apartment during finals week, after her roommates searched her apartment and found legally owned guns.
Leyla Pirnie’s landlord, Dave Lewis, said “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.”
Leyla was not home when her two roommates went into her room, noticed her Make America Great Again hat, and proceeded to search her room on the assumption the MAGA hat meant Leyla possessed guns.
Despite law enforcement verifying Leyla was compliant with firearms laws and owned the guns legally, and despite the fact the roommates lived together peacefully all semester until the guns were found, her roommates asked the landlord to request that Leyla move.
“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 shared in her letter to the landlord.
“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. 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. 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.”
Lewis, the roommates’ landlord, asked Captain James Donovan of the Somerville Police Department to inspect Pirnie’s firearms to ensure they were in compliance with Massachusetts commonwealth regulations. Leyla consented for the police to review her firearms, and was told she is in compliance with all firearm regulations. In his email suggesting Leyla move out, Lewis conceded to the department’s conclusion that Leyla was not violating any gun laws.
When Leyla was confronted by her roommates about her firearms, she told them that she was a legal gun owner, trained in the safe and proper handling of firearms. Leyla said the roommates weren’t concerned with her handling of the guns, instead that somebody might break in and use the guns on them, or, inexplicably, that the guns “might go off on their own.”
Leyla feels that Lewis’ request for her to move out is highly 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,” Leyla shared. “My landlord’s e-mail, though carefully crafted, showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms.”
Frustratingly, Leyla feels her roommates ignored her sharing why she owns firearms. Leyla was in an abusive relationship while in undergrad, which is part of the reason Leyla desires to be armed.
“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,” Leyla remarks.
Lewis suggested that Leyla move out during finals week, which Leyla and her father promptly rejected. Additionally, Leyla would be held financially responsible should the other roommates leave.
“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. Obviously it would be much easier for the others to stay and just fill one room…” Lewis emailed Leyla and her father.
Leyla is understandably upset with the entire situation, feeling violated and mistreated for being a gun owner.
“I’m still very much so being threatened out of my 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.”