A female Harvard University graduate student who had a MAGA hat and legally-owned guns in her room was asked by her apartment owner to move out after her roommates reportedly searched through her room and found the guns.
Leyla Pirnie had been living in her apartment with six roommates since September. She told The Washington Free Beacon:
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.” 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.
One of the roommates emailed Dave Lewis, president of Avid Management, arguing that Pirnie left her guns unlocked:
As we understand it from speaking with Leyla, the firearms are all properly licensed and permitted, but are kept loaded and unlocked … We all discussed her right to keep legal firearms in a lawful manner, although we all discussed our discomfort about having firearms in the house which we in turn hope she respects. 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.
Lewis responded with an email in which he started by pointing out the local captain of the police department determined Pirnie had indeed kept her guns locked up, writing:
I’ve consulted my attorney and have had several conversations today with Captain Donovan of the Somerville Police department, who at my request and Leyla’s invitation, this afternoon was allowed to inspect the premises and the storage of the firearms in question and have determined that they are being safely and legally stored under lock and key. In addition, the captain affirmed that Leyla is in compliance with state laws and has an interview scheduled with him on December 11 as part of her permit application to possess the firearms in her home.
But Lewis then added:
That being said, it's clear that the rest of the housemates are extremely uncomfortable with the idea of firearms being kept in the household and this difference in philosophy and lifestyle has led to an uncomfortable level of tension and stress for the entire household. Consequently, 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.
Pirnie commented to the Beacon, “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. My landlord's e-mail, though carefully crafted, showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms." She explained that she had told her roommates that one reason for her owning firearms was that she had been in a physically abusive relationship. 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."
According to the Beacon, “When Pirnie and her father rejected Lewis's request that she move out in the middle of studying for finals, Lewis responded by saying his request ‘was based strictly on practical and not idealogical (sic) terms.’ He then warned that if the other roommates moved out Pirnie would have to pay their rent.”
Lewis emailed 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 concluded, "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."