Leyla Pirnie, a Harvard graduate student, was asked to move out of her Massachusetts apartment after her roommates found legal guns and a Make America Great Again hat. Pirnie’s predicament was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. The conservative outlet says that the president of the management company who owned Pirnie’s residence, Dave Lewis, told the student, “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.”
The Free Beacon says that one of Pirnie’s roommates contacted Lewis to say, “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.” Pirnie has been living in the apartment since September 2018 and says that she owns guns for protection following a physically abusive relationship that she had previously been in.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Pirnie Says Her Roommates Searched Her Closet & Under Her Bed, While She Was Away for the Weekend
Speaking to the Free Beacon, Pirnie explained what she says happened at her residence, “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.”
Pirnie said that her roommates told her that because she is from Alabama and owns a Make America Great Again hat, they felt that she would own firearms. She adds, “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.”
Pirnie also said that despite explaining she was trained in the use of guns, her roommates were more concerned with someone breaking in and turning the guns on them or that a gun “might go off on [its] own.” Although, Pirnie said her biggest issue was her roommates, who she barely knew, going through her personal belongings. Pirnie went on to say that she believes her landlord “showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms.”
Pirnie says she and her father have rejected the landlord’s request for her to move out leaving her in a difficult position. Her landlord has said that if the other roommates move out, Pirnie would have to fill the apartment or foot the entire rent bill of more than $6,000 per month. She told the Free Beacon, “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.”
2. Pirnie Was Born in Turkey to American Parents
According to her Facebook page, Pirnie is from Izmir, Turkey. Pirnie says on her page that she began studying at Harvard on September 4. In a Facebook conversation about Ronald Reagan and the belief that the United States is a Christian nation, Pirnie identifies as a Christian. In response to a Reagan quote that saw the 40th president quoted as saying, “The constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying: its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray,” Pirnie said, “It’s important to keep in mind that this country was founded on Christian principles and values, with the belief that we should be tolerant of other religions. That doesn’t mean that we should be changing things like “in God we trust” or “merry Christmas” to “happy holidays” just because it might offend someone. Christians can’t be the only ones who are tolerant of other religions.”
Pirnie said in a University of Alabama questionnaire in 2015, “My name is Leyla Pirnie. I was born and raised in Izmir, Turkey for 12 years; however, my parents are both American. My mother is from German descent, while my father is from Scottish descent.”
3. Pirnie’s Twitter Account Has Been Suspended
A search for Pirnie’s Twitter account shows that her account has been suspended. It is not clear why this occurred, the last mention for her username came in May 2015. Since Pirnie’s eviction story spread across the internet, she has deleted her LinkedIn account. A view of a cached version of that page shows that Pirnie is a graduate of Fairhope High School, class of 2009, and a 2017 graduate of the University of Alabama. At Alabama, Pirnie studied International Relation and Affairs, French and Political Science.
While at the University of Alabama, Pirnie was the social chair of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and the Director of Public Relations for the International Students Association. Pirnie also said on her LinkedIn page that she is a senior director of Ropir International S.A., a package delivery company based in Doral, Florida. A separate online profile shows that Pirnie lived in Paris, France, for a time.
4. Pirnie Is Receiving Huge Support From Conservatives on Twitter
Pirnie’s story has struck a chord with conservatives on Twitter, with many rushing to offer their support to the Harvard student. Here are some of their responses:
5. Pirnie’s Guns Are in Compliance With Massachusetts Law
Dave Lewis contacted Captain James Donovan of the Somerville Police Department to ask that he ensure Pirnie’s guns were in compliance with Massachusetts law, the Free Beacon report says. Pirnie says that despite the guns being in compliance, and Lewis telling her so, he still asked her to move out of the apartment.