Fake News: Virginia Governor NOT Preparing To Order Up To 10,000 Body Bags In Anticipation Of Civil War

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper
Fake News: Virginia Governor NOT Preparing To Order Up To 10,000 Body Bags In Anticipation Of Civil War

Is the Virginia governor preparing to order up to 10,000 body bags in anticipation of civil war breaking out? No, that's not true: The Democratic governor denies he has ordered body bags. This is an unsupported claim - a hoax played on people who fear the governor's new gun-control efforts will confiscate residents' weapons and set off a civil war.

Gov. Ralph Northan's push for gun control measures has angered gun-rights supporters, and many have taken to social media to share claims of an impending civil war over plans to confiscate guns.

A good example is this video published by David Zublick Channel on January 12, 2020, titled "Citizens To Gun Grabbing Governor: 'Order Body Bags'" (archived here). It opened:

Be prepared for any emergency. Go to http://preparewithdavid.com today! Virginia's governor is getting ready to order up to 10,000 body bags in anticipation of civil war breaking now over the state's plan to confiscate the guns of law abiding citizens. Critics of the plan are warning him that those body bags may be needed for those attempting to pry the firearms from those who support the right to keep and bear arms. David Zublick unseals the truth in this special report!

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Citizens To Gun Grabbing Governor: 'Order Body Bags'

Be prepared for any emergency. Go to http://preparewithdavid.com today! Virginia's governor is getting ready to order up to 10,000 body bags in anticipation of civil war breaking now over the state's plan to confiscate the guns of law abiding citizens. Critics of the plan are warning him that those body bags may be needed for those attempting to pry the firearms from those who support the right to keep and bear arms. David Zublick unseals the truth in this special report!

Northam's plans to introduce several gun control measures are pitting him against gun owners who argue their Second Amendment rights are being threatened. Several of them have taken to social media to spread claims that efforts to crack down on guns could prompt a civil war.

One of the latest rumors being circulated online suggested that Northam is planning to order thousands of body bags in anticipation of an armed conflict during gun confiscations. In the video, Zublick said:

We are hearing that he may be ordering up to 10,000 body bags or more to be used in case this civil war breaks out."

In response, Northam's press secretary Alena Yarmosky told Lead Stories:

This is absolutely false. People who spread lies like this should be ashamed of themselves."

In the video, Zublick mentioned an analysis by Matt Bracken of AmericanPartisan.org "and others" about the need for body bags due to a "statewide civil war." Various articles (here, here, and here), which are copied word-for-word, cited Bracken's analysis as a source for these claims. However, Bracken's article (to which they all link) never once mentioned "body bag."

Lead Stories attempted to reach out to Bracken for comment but was unable to track him down.

Zublick spent a few minutes in the video pushing listeners to his website and urging them to order two weeks' worth of food supplies to prepare for an armed conflict.

In Virginia, Northam's efforts to strengthen gun control laws follow a mass shooting in his state last year, when a gunman opened fire on May 31, 2019, at a municipal building in Virginia Beach. The attack killed 12 people.

On November 5, 2019, Democrats won a majority in the state's House and Senate, which gave the party full control over state government for the first time in more than two decades. A day after the victories, Northam, also a Democrat, said he would introduce gun control measures in the state legislature this year. According to Reuters:

The legislative bills that Northam's administration is backing include universal background checks on gun sales, a ban on assault-style rifles, and passing "red flag" laws that would allow courts and local law enforcement to remove guns from people deemed a risk to communities.

We have covered stories about Virginia and gun control in the last few weeks and will continue to monitor the situation. Protests are planned in the state capitol, Richmond, on January 20, 2020. Here are our most recent articles:

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  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

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