By: Teresa Mull
Leyla Pirnie is a 24-year-old Harvard graduate student. She has lived in a house with six other people since September 2018, without incident. Recently, however, Pirnie’s roommates rummaged through her room without permission while Pirnie was out of town. They found firearms Pirnie is trained to use and which are perfectly legal for her to possess.
Now, Pirnie’s landlord is asking her to vacate her apartment, or else incur her roommates’ $6,000 (at least) rent expenses, despite the fact her lease does not forbid her having firearms in her apartment.
Invasion of Privacy, Stereotyping
Pirnie told the Washington Free Beacon that while she was away, her roommates “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,” Pirnie told the Beacon, “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.’ 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.”
The Beacon reports Dave Lewis, president of Avid Management, contacted a local police department to “inspect Pirnie’s firearms and ensure they were in compliance with Massachusetts law,” a measure to which Pirnie agreed. Police said Pirnie was not breaking any firearms 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 wrote in an email.
Pirnie said in an interview that her roommates expressed concerns over an intruder finding and using the guns on them, or that the guns “might go off on their own.”
Pirnie told the Beacon no one has bothered to ask her why she feels the need to arm herself. She explained that she has a “real and legitimate reason” to own the guns, since, as an undergrad, she was involved in a physically abusive relationship.
Very Expensive Threats
According to the Beacon, Lewis, the landlord, wrote in an email to Pirnie and her father:
“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 (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.”
Pirnie’s story has made national headlines. She appeared on Fox News and said several lawyers had contacted her to help, “…so we'll see where it ends up.”
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.