Law could force customers to wait 24 hours before getting inked

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First Posted: 9/30/2013

If you wake up one morning and decide you want to get a tattoo that day, you may have to wait 24 hours first…if you’re in Washington, D.C.

In the beginning of September, Washington, D.C. officials proposed 65 pages of regulation on tattoos and piercings.

Their “Think Before You Ink” law states that a tattoo artist cannot apply a tattoo until at least 24 hours after a customer requests it. The same restrictions go for body piercings. Not only would this law eliminate walk-ins, but it also bans tattooing at conventions, does not allow artists to collect deposits for tattoos, and requires artists to undergo biohazard training and provide proof that they have been vaccinated for hepatitis B.

Under “Think Before You Ink,” minors under 18 years old are prohibited from getting any kind of body art, except ear piercing. Even if minors want to get their ears pierced, they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times. Minors would also be prohibited from stepping foot on the premises of a body art establishment unless they are with their guardian.

The D.C.-based Department of Health said that this law would protect customers from impulse tattooing, making sure people are in the right frame of mind when making a permanent decision.

Steve Gulbin of Marc’s Tattooing commented on what would happen to the tattoo industry if this law were to be passed. Since most reputable studios require appointments, he doesn’t see this law hurting anyone.

“I don’t think it’ll affect the real tattoo industry at all,” explained Gulbin. “It’s a silly law, a waste of time, and a waste of taxpayers’ money.”

If it was to be passed in D.C., Gulbin, “can’t imagine it snowballing” with other states picking up on it, especially in Pennsylvania, since there isn’t a restriction on tattooing other than age.

Woody Wodock of Electric City Tattoo expressed his opinion on the potential law.

“It’s not going to stop people from getting the tattoo they want,” said Wodock.

He thinks that this “ridiculous” law is bigger than simply stopping people from getting a spontaneous tattoo; it’s taking a decision out of people’s hands and “more of a rights thing.”

“If they take this decision away from you, if they’re able to stop you from making a decision that you want and it’s not even up to them to do that, then what else are they going to start taking away?” Wodock questioned.

“It’s personal freedom. It’s your decision. It’s your choice to do what you want.”