Fact Check

Is West Virginia Giving Away Free Guns to Those Who Get COVID Vaccinations?

Vaccine-related freebies get more and more creative.

Published Jun 3, 2021

 (Governor Jim Justice/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Governor Jim Justice/Wikimedia Commons
The West Virginia government is giving away a number of free guns through a series of lucky draws in a lottery for people who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot.

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Numerous states have been offering a range of free items or prizes in the hopes of getting more Americans to sign up for the COVID-19 shot. Now West Virginia has joined the trend. The state government announced a lottery for Father’s Day, which falls on June 20, 2021, with numerous prizes offered including shotguns and rifles, and only people who are vaccinated at least once will  qualify.

Gov. Jim Justice announced the initiative on June 1. The government will be giving away two brand-new trucks, two scholarships for students from the ages of 12 to 25, a number of weekend getaways to state parks, five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, and even $1 million to a lucky winner. But that’s not all.

“We are gonna give 5 custom hunting rifles, and 5 custom hunting shotguns away, on Father’s Day,” Justice said.

“To be eligible you have got to get your first shot,” he added. Those who received both their vaccine doses are also eligible. Registrations for the giveaway will begin on Friday, June 4, according to a news release. The release also said that the initiative will be called “Do it for Babydog: Save a life. Change your life.” Baby Dog is the name of Justice’s pet English bulldog.

Only 34 percent of the population of West Virginia, according to NPR’s Vaccine Tracker, is fully vaccinated, and in April the demand for vaccines was dipping. The state had announced an initiative to offer a $100 saving bond to everyone between the ages of 16 and 35 who got vaccinated.  

We should also note that West Virginia has the 13th-highest rate of gun deaths in the United States.

Given that this has been announced by the governor, we rate this claim as “True.”

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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