A landlord told a Harvard University graduate student to leave her apartment after her roommates searched her room while she was away and found legally owned firearms.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, the student, Leyla Pirnie, was confronted by her roommates after she came back to the apartment from a weekend trip.
“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,” Pirnie told The Free Beacon.
The roommates sent an email to Dave Lewis, president of Avid Management, asking that he get involved.
“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,” one of Pirnie’s roommates wrote to Lewis.
In response to the roommates’ request, Lewis contacted a police captain to inspect Pirnie’s firearms to ensure they complied with Massachusetts law. Pirnie agreed to the inspection, which found that she was not breaking any gun laws.
“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 said in an email to the household.
Pirnie believes that the request that she move out for legally owning firearms is inappropriate and that her privacy was violated by her roommates.
“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. “My landlord’s e-mail, though carefully crafted, showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms.”
Except for having a “Make America Great Again” hat in her room, Pirnie, who has been living in the apartment since September with no problems, said she kept her political beliefs to herself.
This girl’s roommates searched through all her belongings just because they saw she owned a #MAGA hat, went to landlord with complaints after finding out she was a LEGAL gun owner. From @StephenGutowski https://t.co/CPL1oc5Vqy pic.twitter.com/d3tpICcIHq
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) November 30, 2018
However, she thinks that her roommates’ opinions of her background and political beliefs played a significant role in their behavior.
“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,'” Pirnie said.
“I asked why they didn’t just call me and ask me before intruding,” Pirnie said. “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.”
While Lewis is kicking Pirnie out because of his concern with her roommates’ desire for comfort, Pirnie said her own reasons for owning firearms was ignored. She was in a physically abusive relationship and wants to be able to defend herself.
“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?'” she said. “I have a real and legitimate reason as to why I want to protect myself.”
When Pirnie initially rejected the offer to move out while in the middle of studying for final exams, Lewis warned that if her roommates moved out, Pirnie would have to pay their share of the rent.
“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 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.”
Now Pirnie believes that not only was her privacy violated, but also her rights as a gun owner.
“I’m still very much so being threatened out of my apartment,” she said. “Either I leave and incur moving expenses or my roommates move and I incur their rent expenses. … Doesn’t seem right.”
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