Harvard grad student Leyla Pirnie is being threatened with eviction simply because she legally owns firearms and her fellow roommates find that to be uncomfortable.
What is even more shocking is the manner in which the other roommates discovered that Ms. Pirnie owned guns in the first place. Leyla had never mentioned to her roommates that she owned firearms, and they never bothered to ask her; however, they later told her that they assumed she did because she was a Trump supporter and from Alabama. One weekend, while Ms. Pine was out of town, her fellow roommates took the liberty of going through all her stuff. They searched under her bed, in her drawers and inside her closet until they found a number of firearms. They then confronted Ms. Pirnie with their findings upon her return.
Instead of apologizing for violating Ms. Pirnie’s rights by searching her entire room without her permission, her roommates demanded that she vacate the premises on the grounds that they were uncomfortable with the idea of having firearms on the premises. Furthermore, they complained to the landlord, who promptly went to law enforcement officials to ensure that Leyla’s guns were legally owned.
Local law enforcement officials assured the landlord that Leyla Pirnie was in compliance with all local laws; however, this news did not dissuade him from demanding that Ms. Pirnie vacate the premises. The reason given for his demand is that her roommates were afraid of having a gun owner living in their apartment with them, and Ms. Pirnie was not willing to give up her firearms; therefore, she should leave. What is more, the landlord is putting pressure on her to vacate the apartment immediately by telling her that she would be required to pay her roommates’ share of the rent if one or more of them decided to leave because they couldn’t handle living with a law-abiding gun owner.
Ms. Pirnie was clearly blindsided by her roommates’ actions. When asking them about what happened, they told a number of lies, many of which didn’t even make sense. Finally, one admitted that they suspected she was a gun owner and decided to search through her stuff to confirm their suspicions. When Ms. Pirnie stated the obvious fact that they could have called her on the phone and asked her outright if she owned guns, one roommate responded that the thought of living with a gun owner made her anxious and shaky all over, leaving her with no other option than to ransack the room to see if there were guns on the premises.
Ms. Pirnie and her father have attempted to defuse the situation, but to no avail. The roommates are not interested in the fact that the guns are legally owned and safely stored. They also don’t care about why Ms. Pirnie owns guns in the first place. The landlord insists his decision to ask Ms. Pirnie to leave has nothing to do with politics; rather, it is a practical decision. Clearly, he is more concerned about keeping a few easily offended tenants than actually doing the right thing.
Even after all of this, Ms. Pirnie is refusing to vacate the premises. She rightly states that her privacy and her rights are being violated; furthermore, she notes that she is in the middle of studying for her final exams and so does not have the time to search for another place to live and then move her belongings.
Every American should have the right to privacy. That is why there is a Fourth Amendment preventing law enforcement officials from searching one’s home and belongings without a warrant. However, Ms. Pirnie’s roommates seem to feel they have even more authority than the local police. They are putting their comfort and feelings above the rights of another individual. What is even more disconcerting is that the landlord is backing them up and demanding that a law-abiding tenant leave simply because of her beliefs.
This entire situation should concern anyone who values his or her privacy, as being evicted simply for holding to certain beliefs should be unconscionable in a free nation.
~ Liberty Planet