Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

West Virginia offers free gun raffle for vaccinations, making the whole life-saving thing a bit of a wash

Several gun raffle contestants shown at vaccination event in West Virginia.
Several gun raffle contestants shown at vaccination event in West Virginia.
Photo: Stephen Zenner (Getty Images)

If there’s one thing that will convince people to get the vaccines they need to slow the spread of a pandemic that’s already taken millions of lives across the world, it’s the potential to get free shit for doing so. This public health approach has been employed in various states that, as Forbes reports, have handed out everything from Six Flags tickets and free beer to cash lottery entries. But it’s being taken a step further in West Virginia, which recently announced that residents will have a chance to win custom rifles and shotguns if they get vaccinated.

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As reported by Vice, Governor Jim Justice outlined a new lottery aimed at increasing the state’s lagging vaccination rate—only “40 percent ... have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine”—by setting up a bunch of gun and non-gun-based lotteries. West Virginians who’ve received at least one dose will be eligible to win “a million dollar grand prize, additional cash prizes, college scholarships, pick-up trucks, and much more.”

Part of that “much more” is a chance to win one of several “custom-made rifles and shotguns” in a June 20th prize draw. Alongside this news, Vice points out that the state “has some of the weakest gun laws and one of the highest gun-death rates in the nation.”

“There are going to be so many wonderful prizes that you can win, it will blow you away,” Gov. Justice said during the briefing, employing a pretty remarkable choice of words to get his point across. And, just in case all of this wasn’t enough, he followed the announcement of the state’s gun raffle by posing with his bulldog, named Babydog, and informing his constituents that “she wants you vaccinated so badly.”

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.