Many young people solve the problem of affordable housing with roommates, but this did not work out well for Harvard graduate Leyla Pirnie who is now facing eviction from her apartment because of her legally owned firearms.
“The Washington Free Beacon reports that Pirnie’s roommates allegedly rummaged through her belongings while she was away from the apartment, discovered her guns, and emailed the landlord to complain. One of the roommates told the landlord: “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.”
This situation hits my hot buttons on several levels.
(I know this happened in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, but my training is in Texas Law, so I will refer to the Texas Penal Code for definitions.)
Texas Penal Code section 1.07 (39) “Possession” means actual care, custody, control, or management.
Ms. Pirnie failed to maintain control of her firearm(s). If the roomies were able to locate the guns by searching her room, those weapons were not correctly secured. Before the hate mail starts to flow, I am not taking about mandatory storage standards as defined by law. I am talking about the responsibility every gun owner has to insure his firearms cannot be accessed by children, criminals (especially criminals), and the terminally stupid like Ms. Pirnie’s roommates.
In my home, all firearms are stored in a safe with the sole exception being the handgun that is always either on my person, or within immediate arms reach. Had Ms. Pirnie followed the simple practice of securing her firearms in a safe, there would have been nothing for her roommates to find, and this would have been a non-event.
Texas Penal Code section 6.03 (c) “Reckless” A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
Texas Penal Code section 6.03 (d) “Negligence” A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
I’m on the fence about whether Ms. Pirnie’s situation falls into the “Reckless” or “Negligent” category.
Q: Was it reasonable for her to believe that her room was safe and that her privacy would be respected by her roommates?
A: Maybe. But even if the roommates were top notch people who would never step into another person’s room to borrow something, what about their guests and significant others?
Personally, I would leave my door locked at all times. Plenty of theft occurs by house guests. A lot of it is prescription medications, but cash, or an unsecured handgun, would be equally vulnerable. Sexual assaults are most commonly perpetrated by persons known to the victim. You can never be sure a roomie’s boyfriend might not drop by unexpectedly to do more than say hello. If you have roommates, KEEP YOUR DOOR LOCKED. Just sayin’.
Some folks are going to chastise me for blaming the victim, but I am not doing that. I merely hold this up as an example of simple things that could have been done to protect oneself from the terminally stupid among us. These steps would also reduce the number of accidents involving children and the number of firearms stolen every year, and thse would be good things.
Ms. Pirnie had every reasonable expectation that her room and her possessions were to be respected. In a reasonable world, they would have been, and this would not be news.
But we no longer live in a “reasonable” world do we?
The roommates were the bad actors in this case. They broke a critical trust, and created a bad situation that injured an innocent person just because they drank the kool-aid and checked their brains at the college door. (On the way in.)
I have to wonder: What were they planning to tell Ms. Pirnie if they had found nothing but a MAGA hat?
I hope Ms. Pirnie learns from this situation, and finds some more like-minded roomies in the future. (I suggest putting up an ad at the local gun ranges that offer Ladies’ Night.)