Harvard Student Gets the Boot Over Legally Owned, Stored Firearms

Leyla Pirnie is being asked to move out because her roommates feel “uncomfortable” with guns in the house. (Photo: Screenshot Fox News)

A graduate student at Harvard University is being forced out of her apartment because her roommates feel “uncomfortable” about her legally owned and stored firearms, according to a new report from the Washington Free Beacon.

Leyla Pirnie, 24, believes her political beliefs and her background motivated her roommates’ actions. They searched her room while she was away on a weekend trip, and, when they claim they found her firearms, they sent their landlord an email requesting that she move.

“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.”

SEE ALSO: Twitterverse Explodes After College Senior Poses with Gun in Her Waistband

The Free Beacon obtained the email that Pirnie’s roommate sent to their landlord, Dave Lewis.

“All of us are uncomfortable having the firearms in the house, and… their presence causes anxiety and deprives us of the quiet enjoyment of the premises to which we are entitled,” the email says. “Please take appropriate steps to confirm the firearms are being maintained legally, and that they were locked and kept in a secure container.”

Lewis asked Captain James Donovan of the Somerville Police Department to inspect Pirnie’s firearms and their method of storage. According to another email from Lewis, Donovan determined the firearms are being “safely and legally stored” and that Pirnie is in compliance with all state laws. Massachusetts has the nation’s strictest safe storage laws, requiring that all firearms be kept under lock and key when not in use.

SEE ALSO: Arkansas to Allow Guns in Government Buildings, Colleges Thanks to ‘Enhanced’ Concealed Carry Permit

Despite Donovan’s findings, Lewis and Pirnie’s roommate still want her to leave.

“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 says. “I’m truly sorry that this has occurred but i (sic) think it’s a (sic) important to remember that we are all human beings and we need to try to respect one another, irrespective of one’s beliefs and lifestyle choices.”

Those choices, apparently, do not include firearm ownership.

“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,” Pirnie said. “My landlord’s e-mail, though carefully crafted, showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 70 comments… add one }
  • Ramsey S Reda January 11, 2021, 9:27 pm

    If the roommates have the issue, they should be the ones to move. Why would the person who doesn’t have an issue have to move? It doesn’t make any sense.

  • Frank Lessa June 18, 2020, 1:17 pm

    TWO AMERICAS – only property owners have Second Amendment rights. Everyone else has nothing more than a privilege, which can be granted only by government (e.g. CCW) or by a property owner.

  • Abner Yokum August 30, 2019, 4:51 am

    It was the “Protected by Smith & Wesson” sign on the door that tipped them off, correct?

    The roommates are the ones that need to move, and be monitored. They’re psycho…

  • Beachhawk December 8, 2018, 9:49 pm

    The victim in this case needs to talk with a Second Amendment-friendly attorney about bringing an action against her roommates and landlord.

  • JT December 8, 2018, 1:22 pm

    I thought that all of these lefty socialist fascists were all about \”Coexist.\” Whatever happened to coexisting with others?These people are all too stupid to attend Harvard b/c the irony of the following statement from one of the roommates is apparently lost on all of them\’ \”we need to try to respect one another, irrespective of one’s beliefs and lifestyle choices.”

  • Mr. Sparkles December 8, 2018, 9:37 am

    When a landlord is allowed to violate one individuals rights under the claim of honoring another’s and the local authorities, who have the responsibility to protect everybodies rights, fail to react, it is the very definition of selective prosecution, bias and prejudice.

    Violating a persons civil rights in this way because you disagree with them politically is a hate crime. Let’s see MA enforce that law.

    I suggest that this young lady press charges against the roommates for breaking and entering, the landlord and police for violation of 4th amendment rights and the city for failure to investigate and prosecute an admitted crime.

  • Leonard S December 7, 2018, 12:43 pm

    If the roommates had not violated personal living space, they never would have known. They broke into her room and located a “secured” firearm. If the gun was secured, they would have to break into the place of concealment, and that is illegal in every town and city that I know.
    Further, why is it incumbent on Leyla to leave the apartment when she broke none of the laws and the others did? This is a violation of Constitutional Rights to privacy as well as an attack on the Second Amendment. The only laws broken were by the roommates, and I can smell a lawsuit coming.

    • larca December 10, 2018, 11:19 am

      If the firearm was indeed “secured” (in a locked container), I still can’t figure out how they knew she had it.

      I’m guessing that there were other things in the drawer outside the locked container that gave it away … such as a box of ammo, or maybe it was locked in a case that clearly said “Smith & Wesson” on the outside, or some such.

  • Leonard S December 7, 2018, 12:42 pm

    If the roommates had not violated personal living space, they never would have known. They broke into her room and located a “secured” firearm. If the gun was secured, they would have to break into the place of concealment, and that is illegal in every town and city that I know.
    Further, why is it incumbent on Leyla to leave the apartment when she broke none of the laws and the others did? This is a violation of Constitutional Rights to privacy as well as an attack on the Second Amendment.

  • ditpook December 7, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Please, please PLEASE someone come forward and help this women sue her roommates into the stone age!
    This is our biggest problem – gun control through fear and uneasiness of hoplophobes. Make a court order that they all get psychologically evaluated then get them evicted and keep that on their records.
    Wouldn’t it be funny of she did move out and a month later the place was robbed?

  • William December 7, 2018, 11:21 am

    Courts have upheld that a bedroom is under the control of the person that occupies that room. Unless the person occupying the bedroom has given their consent to a search of that room, nothing from that room may be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding. That being said, it would appear that the lady that did occupy that room MAY have justification for a civil proceeding against the opposition. What a judge may rule, is of course, unpredictable.

  • Ziggy December 7, 2018, 10:50 am

    I am completely on the side of the gun-owning student. That being said, if the firearms were properly secured to me that would mean some kind of mini-safe or other locked container. Particularly if I was going to be away long enough for my idiot roommates to go snooping around and possibly hurt themselves or someone else. Given that, how did they even know she had guns in her room? Perhaps I am missing something here.

    • Roger Reynolds December 7, 2018, 8:13 pm

      Cuz she had a MAGA hat oh and she’s from Alabama, “so we ASSumed you had something.” 😂😂😂

      • Arch December 8, 2018, 7:47 pm

        They assumed she was a gun owner because she’s from the south. Imagine if she assumed they were women because they had xx chromosomes? There’d be Hell to pay! The SJW would be losing their minds.

  • John A Bird December 7, 2018, 10:42 am

    The 2nd Amendment to our Constitution is very clear, you have a right to arm yourself and defend yourself from all enemies of this nation, including snowflake liberals who have a false impression of their political party. This woman did not pose a threat and we all know that guns are an inanimate object until lawfully drawn. Stand your ground, never give up your guns, and fight tyranny until death due us part.

  • FirstStateMark December 7, 2018, 10:37 am

    She will be WAY better off getting away from these liberal, progressive snowflakes ASAP.

  • Lil Bill December 7, 2018, 9:44 am

    I think it is perfectly reasonable to be uncomfortable around a person with a gun (no offense to anyone who owns or grew up around them) at least in my mind people can be unpredictable and if I don’t know the person well and trust them I would also probably be uncomfortable. Also we do not know the whole situation because we only have one side of it, I think this is less black and white than the media tries to paint it.

    • trapperwv1 December 7, 2018, 4:55 pm

      You probably need to stay out of WV and KY or you will be uncomfortable a lot.

      • ken smith December 8, 2018, 5:23 pm

        that dude needs to stay out of Teas, also. heall— even some of the
        little old granny ladies are packing down here.

    • Chris December 7, 2018, 6:22 pm

      Lol now you anti gun liberals are starting to troll gunsamerica forums.

    • Kevin December 8, 2018, 3:54 am

      So, you’re saying that they knew of her gun some other way that the way she described?

  • G. O.A. Patriot December 7, 2018, 9:40 am

    I don’t wish harm on anyone, well maybe just Obummer, but I would find it quite ironic if something happened at that house that made those mindless liberals wish Ms. Pirnie was there with her guns to protect them! Things do have a way of coming back to haunt you when you’re as stupid as that.

  • Bobby December 7, 2018, 9:37 am

    We don’t really know the whole situation between her and the roommates since obviously this article is just her side of the story, but I think its perfectly reasonable for someone to feel uncomfortable around such a device.

    • MIKE December 7, 2018, 10:44 am


    • Trevor_Phillips December 7, 2018, 11:29 pm

      What a braindead libtard

    • larca December 9, 2018, 10:30 am

      “its [sic] perfectly reasonable for someone to feel uncomfortable around such a device”

      Then it should be even more reasonable for someone to feel uncomfortable around things like automobiles, swimming pools, physicians, knives, cigarettes, opioids, and also people’s hands and feet. After all, every one of those kill more people every year than firearms do. Although physicians and firearms save _far_ more lives than than they take.

      They should be far more upset about a housemate who smokes, than one who keeps a firearm completely locked up and might save their lives one day.

    • Fred Glick June 14, 2020, 7:08 pm

      You did not really just say that. OMG. And people wonder why this country is so crazy. Are you triggered when a cop has one too… The entire idea is for someone – say a rapist / murderer – to feel “uncomfortable” when it’s pointed at them. A gun in a box is not going to jump out of the locked box and shoot itself you silly ninny…. I guess if you were from Alabama you would understand. (How did her girlfriend’s get into college).

  • No1hunter December 7, 2018, 9:30 am

    Typical Liberal mentality, I don’t like something so you need to change or move. Back in the day, if you didn’t like something, you moved, not force your idiotic feeling on others! What a sad state this Country is in!!!

  • Ed Sunderland December 7, 2018, 9:02 am

    The other girls are liberals and hate her because she is an attractive conservative. The MAGA hat was the dead giveaway and the trigger that set off the insanity of her room mates. Simple as that. left wing tolerance.

  • Bad Penguin December 7, 2018, 8:50 am

    I’m sure these 6 shi@t for brains coed’s broke several laws breaking and entering her room and ransacking it. Not to mention their bigotry and assuming since she was from Alabama that she had a gun. That kind of thought is the same as racially profiling and should be prosecuted as a hate crime!

  • Earl Haehl December 7, 2018, 8:38 am

    I guess in Massachusetts you need to stash your cache at Concord.

  • BT December 7, 2018, 8:35 am

    Funny how 2nd amendment supporters claim discrimination when a private party excludes them, but jump for joy when a private company is allowed to discriminate on the grounds of religion. No one is ever against anything that supports their own prejudices. But remember, these things work both ways. If you want to let private companies discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs, they can also discriminate on the basis of gun beliefs. If you give up one right, they can take them all

    • Jim S December 7, 2018, 9:26 am

      If her lease had excluded firearms, the landlord would be justified. However, as I understand it there was no prohibition of firearms in her lease. She should sue the @#^* out of the landlord and the other tenants.

    • KMH December 8, 2018, 2:50 pm

      Read your Constitution, son. In both cases, it’s a matter of directly addressed constitutional rights. Freedom of expression of religion from Amendment 1, freedom to keep and bear from 2. The Constitution doesn’t provide for the right to have a wedding cake baked, and even moreso doesn’t allow for one to force another to do so under threat.

  • Frank December 7, 2018, 8:24 am

    Harvard ? Just another boot camp for wannabe commies.

  • Sean Carberry December 7, 2018, 8:21 am

    I wish the evicted woman the best of luck…as for her room mates…they can all go fuck themselves.

  • Ro Gal December 7, 2018, 8:12 am

    This is where an example needs to be set. Litigious steps to both deter what her roommates did and the action the school took in squashing her civil rights. NRA, GOA, JW and other should file a suit and the other pile on an in amicus. It is fighting fire with fire

  • Jay December 7, 2018, 8:09 am

    Back in the day!! If some thing like was to occur it would whoop-ass time in the gym under supervision with the gloves on. I can remember one day I was wearing the gloves and one fight ended up being three and the gym coach was like, “what the hell did you do?” I said, after i settled the first disagreement, I whipped the second guys butt and I guess this guy wants his try too since he was his friend! Well, we all became friends after that lesson in respect and I was the smaller of them all by 25 pounds at least. Right seems to come out on top irregardless of the situation but you gotta put up the fight first! It’s time to fight for our rights and passiveness is over!

  • letsbepractical December 7, 2018, 7:59 am

    Are you kidding…? Illegal search, Invasion of privacy, Discriminating remarks, concerning her home state, Not to mention all this drama during her finals that can influence the rest of her professional life….Incredible…! Looks like a laundry list for the perfect legal case for any first year law student.

    If the landlord has any character at all, he/she would just tell the rest of the tenants that they have no legal or moral high ground to base their complaint on. And that the young lady has broken no contractual obligation with her rental agreement. And that he/she has no grounds on which to take further action on. The landlord needs to become totally dis-involved, and place the ball in the plaintiffs’ court, and let the chips fall where they may, or face legal action themselves.

    Do you know how difficult it is to find housing anywhere near Harvard University? If the plaintiffs moved out, the vacancy would be filled in a heartbeat. ….My humble opinion

  • Jay December 7, 2018, 6:51 am

    The selective censorship, banning, and outright demonizing of conservatives, gun owners and Christians is under full swing. If you don’t believe it your living under a rock some where on a uninhabited island! The greatest power they posses is that the good people sit back and do nothing! It’s time to go on the offensive and stop being on the defense!

  • robert December 7, 2018, 6:31 am

    Wonder what would happen if they asked her to leave because she was homosexual and they felt uncomfortable around her… We need to rid this place of liberals quick.

    • larca December 9, 2018, 11:25 am

      @robert, thanks for the excellent analogy. Housemates “being uncomfortable” because someone is doing something that is constitutionally protected (and could save *their* own lives some day) only a display of their own ignorant fears.

      Humans are naturally afraid of anything that they do not understand (regardless whether there is any reason to be fearful), and these roommates clearly do not understand / have not been exposed to firearms. The correct solution is for *them* to educate themselves so they are no longer fearful (go to a range with a friend, take a class, etc), *not* to request an illegal eviction of their housemate!

      We, as a society, have raised a generation of snowflakes that are not only easily offended, but also think it’s everyone *else’s* responsibility not to offend them. How ridiculous is *that*?

  • Steven December 7, 2018, 6:12 am

    Charges and lawsuits should be filed, ass-kickings administered.

  • DN December 7, 2018, 4:26 am

    Someone wrote it is breaking and entering. It is not B&E. It is not likely actionable trespass either unless you had specifically notified them (and could prove it by doing so in front of witnesses) that they were not allowed in your room.

    If the roommates admitted searching your room, ie going through your drawers, with a good lawyer you might make an invasion of privacy (civil) claim. The problem is that establishing damages would be hard. You could spend on a lawyer, win the case and be awarded $1 (especially in Somerville which is as left wing as the PRC (people’s republic of Cambridge where Harvard is)). There is also possibly a problem for the landlord a problem if the landlord searched the room. he will likely say he did not but called the cops on suspicion of the firearm being illegal or improperly stored

    If this was DC or California, the only US jurisdictions with prohibitions on political affiliation discrimination, including housing discrimination based on political beliefs, they the fact that the room mates mentioned the MAGA hat would establish that they were discriminating against the tenant.

    Best course of action would have been for this grad student to have put a lock on her door. It is common enough to do so with roommates that you don’t know well enough. If a roommate asks why you say yu ad a roommate walk in on you and your boyfriend/girlfriend once and that’s why. When transporting the pistol though the household say to go to the range, etc, put it in a $20 lockbox inside your backpack or gym bag.

    Now sure this absolutely is a case of the roommates being bigoted in a several ways. But it is also Massachusetts where people are morons about firearms, and 100 recent harvard grad second amendment hating pro bono lawyers would line up to defend the bigoted roommates and also likely the landlord. There is what is your rights and there is what is common sense problem avoidance in shared housing.

    • Jerry December 7, 2018, 2:18 pm

      I didn’t see anything in the article about the bedroom having a lock on it, but if if did, it’s actually a B&E.
      I live in a college town where a lot of older houses have been converted to student apartments. Each bedroom has a door with a lock like the front door of your house.
      If this is the same deal, then it’s like they broke into a separate house.
      I handled several cases like this working for the university police department. Many times the solution was that the ones that entered the victims apartment were forced to move out and find someplace to live without university assistance.

  • Pat December 7, 2018, 3:27 am

    Charge the roommates with breaking and entering. Sue them, sue the police, and sue the landlord for violating his own contract.

  • Greg December 6, 2018, 1:45 pm

    As revenge, I would move out, and obviously take my firearm with me, then post a small ad in the local newspaper with the address of the apartment full of college age young women completely unarmed and unprotected. All the local rapist and burglars will be grateful.

  • The Bearded Pretender December 6, 2018, 12:09 am

    It seem that all the room mates could be charged with breaking and entering.
    I once had a room mate do this to me on Hawaii, he called the cops and they came out, they said I could press charges against them because that was my legal domicile and he invaded my private space.
    I would press charges on all of these Snowflakes in a heart beat.

  • James December 5, 2018, 9:44 pm

    Seems like a missed opportunity for education. There might have been a moment to educate the roommates about safe gun handling, proper storage, etc. Unfortunately the MAGA hat was thrown in there. Too bad it couldn’t be framed as “I understand you don’t agree with me politically, but here is what I’m doing to make sure my firearms are secure, are not a threat to those who potentially might find them and not understand them, and how I use them safely (and legally!). C’est la vie.

  • William December 5, 2018, 7:55 pm

    Stupid article. Roommates are forced to leave all the time because of incompatible differences. It would be quite another thing if she was expelled from the university for owning legal firearms and that is what the deceptive headline lead me to believe. Also surprising a white girl from Alabama even got into to Harvard. She must be exceptional.

    • Matt December 7, 2018, 5:31 am


      I suspect you have to custom order your hats. Obviously, the normal sizes would not fit that swelled up head of yours. Why do I think that your one of those “My name is William, don’t call me Billy” types?

    • Ron December 7, 2018, 8:33 am

      Billy, nice comment. Challenging you to a conversation with my gun owning Mom in Alabama. Btw she has a Doctorate Degree from Harvard as well as two of my Aunts. Alabama is full of exceptional gun toting women. You BIGGOT.

    • Al December 7, 2018, 9:30 am

      William, your hate and lack of logic is showing.
      BTW, your analogy of a Constitutional right and roommates splitting for lack of compatibility is simply dumb.
      It would be no different than if they tried to quell her right to free speech, or to vote.
      You see William, it’s a CONSTITUTIONAL right.

    • Grant December 7, 2018, 5:29 pm

      It would be instant karma if two things happen as a result of all this hassle and publicity: first, Leyla finds some gun-friendly new roommates and thus actually has someone to go to the range with and, secondly, as soon as she has relocated, the old roommates aget invaded by criminals who are now confident that the premises are firearms-free …

    • Trevor_Phillips December 7, 2018, 11:36 pm

      Hey Billy I think you’re just another keyboard commando.

  • Kevin T December 5, 2018, 5:06 pm

    If the roommates are so scared, THEY should move!

    On the other hand if that young lady wants to move I suspect there are plenty of people that would love to have her as a roommate and would respect her.

    I would note that she is not being “forced out.” She was asked to move out and she has every right to say “no” and suggest the other 6 roommates move. The landlord is facing simple economics. It’s easier to ask 1 person to leave and replace them than it is to ask 6 to leave and replace 6.

  • Sabel December 5, 2018, 3:34 pm

    If the roommates are “uncomfortable,” maybe they are the people who should be required to move out. I am sure Miss Pirnie could find replacement roommates without too much trouble. And she could interview them all to make sure they are all avid sportspeople who enjoy the shooting sports BEFORE allowing them to move in. Having all the current roommates move out immediately would also give her plenty of peace and quiet so she could study for exams, too. Sounds like a win-win to me. The go-fund-me account could cover the rent due until new roommates move in.

    • larca December 9, 2018, 11:47 am

      @sabel, while your sentiment is Right-On … GOOD LUCK find more than one or two people in the whole town there, to go to the range with you :-(. It’s a pretty far-left-leaning place, that attracts left-leaning students.

      I work in a Leftist area on the west coast and I do not *dare* tell any coworkers in my building of a few hundred people that I own a firearm. Doing so could constitute career suicide, because for sure, a lot of coworkers here are hoplophobes. I only knew one single coworker who owned a firearm … and was laid off earlier this year. I don’t think because he owned firearms — but the point is that he was the only one out of hundreds with whom I could discuss anything related to the 2A; now I dare not bring it up with anyone. There are undoubtedly a few, but they don’t know who it’s safe to share that info with, either.

      Remember, the new plan of the Left is to make firearm ownership a *shameful* thing. For all law-abiding people, anyway — criminals will own firearms, regardless. They’ve already started the shaming process, supported by deep pockets like Bloomberg and Soros.

  • Dr Motown December 5, 2018, 2:50 pm

    What’s the landlord going to do? He can’t evict her unless she violated something in the rental contract. If he tries, set up a Go-Fund-Me page and we’ll help her sue his ass into bankruptcy

  • John percival December 5, 2018, 12:10 pm

    Feel sorry for her. One of these days those left-wing LOONIES, will wish she was there to defend them from physical harm. Oh so said …….NOT!

  • JoeUSooner December 5, 2018, 12:05 pm

    Hmm… according to the roommates, Pirnie must ” respect” their “beliefs and lifestyle choices,” but they are not required to “respect” Pirnie’s lifestyle. So, tell me again, just how this so-called Liberal Utopia works?

    • bob December 7, 2018, 3:02 am

      just how this so-called Liberal Utopia works?

      Simple, their feeling wants and desires are all that matters.

      shi_t tards every last one of them.

  • Randall Guinn December 5, 2018, 11:52 am

    Why stay where you aren’t liked? I would move if my roommates broke into my room everytime they were scared… Liberals get scared a lot when it suits their motivations..

  • Keith McLellan December 5, 2018, 11:18 am

    At the very least I hope that she sues them for invasion of privacy and they are charged with illegal search

  • KK December 5, 2018, 10:31 am

    Clearly the roommates were quite fearful – and I have no problem with that, people are often scared of what they don’t know or that which is forgiven to them. The way the roommates went about things though is horribly inappropriate. While it was a sad, uncomfortable invasion of the gun owner’s stuff —- and quite frustrating i’m sure too! Moving is never easy, even when it is the right or better thing—- I am under the belief that she is going to be much better off living with someone else who embraces a more mature communication style, respects boundaries, and will hopefully be a much better fit/more open minded.

    • larca December 9, 2018, 11:49 am

      “Fences make good neighbors” … and in this case, “locks on doors make good housemates”. I hope that if she moves, she gets a lock on her next door.

  • mike ohara December 5, 2018, 10:22 am

    her roommates should be forced to take anti-anxiety meds (just kidding for those who might take it seriously).

  • Chris December 3, 2018, 3:22 pm

    Certainly seems like discrimination to me. She hasn’t done anything illegal and she is being forced to leave even though she has done nothing wrong and is in full contract. Sounds like the definition of discrimination, no wonder attorney’s are contacting her.

  • SuperG December 3, 2018, 1:10 pm

    Too bad the libtard room mates can’t be charged with burglary.

    • larca December 10, 2018, 11:16 am

      A charge of burglary would require that they *took* something tangible, and it sounds like all they took out of her room was information.
      B&E (breaking and entering) sounds more appropriate … although I don’t know if what they did rose to the level that the charge could stick. (sure wish it could)

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