The reality TV star known as “Dog the Bounty Hunter” says he helped kill an Idaho measure to regulate bounty hunters because it would have prevented them from wearing badges.
Duane Chapman said the bill also would have prevented bounty hunters licensed in other states from pursuing bail jumpers in Idaho, unless they have an Idaho license to carry a concealed weapon.
Chapman is not allowed to own a firearm because of a 1976 murder conviction.
“I’ve had 8,000 arrests, and I’ve never carried a gun because I cannot,” Chapman told the Post Register.
In Idaho’s recently completed legislative session, the bill cleared the House but not the Senate after Chapman lobbied against it, noting in particular the concealed carry part of the law.
“That’s why he got involved,” said Republican Rep. Richard Wills of Glenns Ferry.
He said Chapman was interested in a time limit on how long a felony conviction could prevent someone from carrying a gun in Idaho and getting a concealed carry permit.
“We weren’t going to go there,” Wills said.
The requirement that bounty hunters have an Idaho concealed carry license would have been a hindrance, Chapman said.
“If someone jumps from Hawaii or Colorado and goes to Idaho, we licensed bondsmen couldn’t chase him there,” he said. “We gotta call someone in the state of Idaho to help us out.”
The proposed law came about after a bounty hunter last year shot and killed Philip Clay while trying to take him into custody in eastern Idaho, with multiple shots fired at a crowded apartment complex. Authorities ruled the shooting justifiable because the 58-year-old Clay pointed a weapon at the bounty hunter who shot him, as well as other nearby bounty hunters.
Clay’s mother, Patricia Holt, said she supported the bill, including requiring bounty hunters to carry a special badge-like metal plate and to wear special clothes identifying their occupation.
“That really bothered me when they would come to my house and flash a badge,” she said. “I can’t read a badge. I have macular degeneration.”
Chapman said he’s interested in working with Holt to write a bill requiring training for Idaho bounty hunters as well as a requirement to obtain a license to be a bounty hunter in the state.